OSHAWA: After the judge handed down a guilty verdict Feb 24 in the schoolyard bashing of an Oshawa lesbian couple, Jane Currie and Anji Dimitriou, teary-eyed and beaming outside the courtroom, declared the moment “a win for the gay community.”
“We are so relieved to be able to finally go home and tell the kids because they ask us every day,” Currie, 39, said as the couple hugged their friends and supporters outside the Durham Region Courthouse on Bond St.
The decision marks the closing chapter of a nightmarish story that spans more than two years of legal proceedings. But it began when the couple was violently attacked Nov 3, 2008, in front of their children’s school. The couple’s son, who was six at the time, as well as some classmates, witnessed the attack.
Judge Katrina Mulligan said Mark Scott, 45, of Oshawa, “flip-flipped on questions” and his “responses were cagey.” She called his evidence “troubling” and “at times entirely inconsistent.”
She found Scott guilty on two counts of assault causing bodily harm. He was remanded until sentencing March 14.
The Nov 3 attack wasn’t Scott’s first run-in with the couple, Mulligan told the courtroom. The bashing was the culmination of a series of disputes over their children and parking spots over about a year, the court heard. “He’s a bully,” Currie told Xtra.
“Before all this happened, our kids were buddies,” she said. “It’s such a shame.”
Mulligan pointedly rejected Scott’s claim that he acted in self-defence. In court, he claimed that he threw blows at the women only after they called him and his son a “nigger.” But Scott never mentioned that part to police when they took his statement, she said.
Throughout the trial, Dimitriou and Currie testified they were on the receiving end of repeated anti-gay slurs, Mulligan said. Dimitriou, 33, told the court that Scott called the couple “fucking dykes” and asked, “Which one of you men spoke to my kid?”
As Mulligan continued to read through her summary, Scott stared forward blank-faced. He barely shifted in his seat or moved the entire time. Mulligan described him as going “into a rage,” screaming and gathering a crowd.
“Scott admitted he left out details in his testimony and that versions of the story were reserved for his lawyer,” she said. “The use of the word ‘nigger’ was never mentioned to police… a crucial detail.”
Currie told Xtra she was “shocked” to hear Scott’s defence. “I probably called him an asshole, but neither of us used the word ‘nigger.’”
In her statement, Mulligan made a point of noting Scott’s large physical size. She said she got the impression he had tried to “minimize” the contrast between his size and that of the two women. Then she rhetorically asked how “a five-foot-two woman with a back issue and limited mobility could reach up and strike a six-foot-tall man?”
Grisly photos were submitted into evidence showing Currie’s face covered in blood. Scott, who represented himself, submitted his own photo of his broken eyeglasses, something the judge said didn’t add up, either, saying, “not one person remarked that Scott’s glasses were broken.”
Mulligan concluded that Scott intentionally spat on Dimitriou. In his testimony, Scott claimed to have been eating a mouthful of peanuts while waiting for his children in the parking lot, and rather than swallow the peanuts, he spit them out and some of them ricocheted onto Dimitriou. The judge dismissed it. “His explanation that he was chewing peanuts at the time is ridiculous,” she said.
“I have difficulty accepting Scott was attacked by Dimitriou… and none of the eye-witnesses came forward saying she hit Scott,” she said, adding that Scott claimed he suffered three punches and a kick.
Dimitriou suffered a black eye, cuts and bruises, a mild concussion and partial loss of vision. Currie had to have stitches in her eye and her face was covered in bruises. Currie said that her children still struggle with the memory and their daughter continues to visit a therapist.