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Oft-delayed Chilliwack rape case ends in guilty verdict for accused

Ruppreet Singh Pawar received the verdict for a sexual assault charge dating back to 2018
Ruppreet Singh Pawar has been found guilty of one count of sexual assault dating back to 2018. (Facebook photo)

After five years and many frustrating delays, a sexual assault victim has finally received justice.

Ruppreet Singh Pawar, 43, was found guilty of one count of sexual assault, with B.C. Provincial Judge Andrea Ormiston delivering the verdict Thursday (June 29) at the Chilliwack Law Courts.

The charged dated all the way back to July 18, 2018. In the early hours of that morning, a woman who isn’t being named due to a publication ban said she was raped by a co-worker on the bleachers next to the playing field at Chilliwack Secondary School.

The two were nursing colleagues at a residential care home in Abbotsford, and Pawar got her to the location under the pretext of needing help with a work issue. Once at the field, he tried to kiss her and then forced himself on her. The sexual assault happened around 3:30 in the morning, and Ormiston walked through some of the details as she read her reasons.

Pawar texted the woman, who was 36 years old at the time, around midnight. He was being moved to the night shift at their care home and claimed to want her advice on the transition. She wanted him to phone her, but instead he texted to say he was on his way to Chilliwack from Abbotsford. He picked her up at her apartment and after driving around for a while they ended up at the school. Increasingly worried about Pawar’s behaviour, the woman suggested that spot because she knew the lights would be on and homes were nearby.

RELATED: Charter rights of accused in Chilliwack sexual assault case were breached but no mistrial granted

RELATED: Chilliwack rape case involving two nurse co-workers from Abbotsford care home wraps up

They started walking around the track at CSS. At trial in February, the woman said Pawar first tried to grab her hand and she pulled away. Then he grabbed her face with both hands and kissed her. She told him to stop, but when they got to the bleachers she testified that he reached a hand under her shirt to grope her breasts and tried to kiss her again. Then he pushed her down on bleachers and tried to take off her pants.

After failing on his first attempt, Pawar tried a second time and succeeded in penetrating the woman. The night ended with him driving the distraught woman home. The next day she was examined at Chilliwack General Hospital and filed a police report, kicking off a near-five year court process. Through it all, Pawar changed lawyers several times and used other delay tactics. One included stopping a trial already in progress to get an interpreter he might not have needed. An interpreter sat next to him when Ormiston delivered her verdict Thursday and didn’t say a single word.

At trial, defence questioned the credibility of the woman and the reliability of her testimony. Ormiston disagreed. She said the woman’s evidence at trial was “sure, careful and detailed,” and the judge called her “an exceptionally reliable witness.”

Pictures taken by nurse who examined her documented bruises and abrasions consistent with what she described, and while Ormiston said there were small inconsistencies in her testimony, there was nothing “indicative of a dishonest witness.”

A potentially fatal flaw in Crown’s case was surveillance video from CSS that an investigating police officer saw but did not seize as evidence before it was destroyed. Pawar’s lawyer filed a successful Charter challenge saying Pawar’s rights were violated when the video wasn’t shared with him, but Ormiston ruled it didn’t warrant a stay of proceedings or mistrial.

In the end, Ormiston determined that Crown had succeeded in proving Pawar’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The next step is a sentencing hearing at a future date.


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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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