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Update: Boone trial ends as defence questions witness’s credibility

Witness says he wanted Boone to be 'the one'

Steven Boone is accused of attempted murder and attempted aggravated sexual assault, among other charges. Credit: Ottawa Police Service
Nov 16 — Steven Boone took the stand Nov 14 and contradicted the testimony of the main witness, stating that the two did not engage in oral or anal sex.
 
Boone said their sexual relationship involved only masturbation and kissing.
 
“He told me he wanted me to wrap my legs around him and kiss him,” Boone said. “I’m really shy, so it’s really hard for me to make the first move.”
 
Boone later said the man was not receptive to his advances, although he said he did reach into the witness’s pants and give him a hand job.
 
“That’s something he asked you to do [in online chats before meeting]?” Boone’s lawyer, Ian Carter, asked. “Did he ask you to stop?”
 
“No,” Boone replied.
 
Carter later asked if it was Boone’s intention to kill the witness or infect him with HIV. Boone replied no to both questions.
 
Earlier in the day, the witness continued his testimony, which began Nov 13.
 
When confronted by Carter about the timeline of his encounters with Boone, the witness frequently contradicted himself or was unable to recall specific details.
 
Carter argued that, although the witness told police in an earlier interview that his genitals were “strictly off limits for anybody,” it was the witness who initiated the sexual act.
 
Crown attorneys Meaghan Cunningham and Louise Tansey-Miller and Carter agreed to allow evidence from Boone’s previous trial to be included in the current trial. On Oct 31 he was found guilty of nine charges, including three counts of attempted murder.
 
When Cunningham questioned Boone about text messages he’d sent to a former boyfriend, Boone said she was exploiting his pain. Boone wrote that he would not take antiretroviral medication unless the boyfriend got back together with him.
 
“I would rather just die,” Cunningham said, quoting the message.
 
During her closing arguments Nov 15, Cunningham pointed to this statement as evidence Boone believes HIV is a death sentence. She said he should therefore be found guilty of attempted murder.
 
Carter’s closing arguments focused on consent and the reliability of the main witness. He referenced the many email messages in which the witness detailed various sexual acts he wanted to do with Boone.
 
But Cunningham later argued that consent must be given at the time of sexual activity, not in advance.
 
Carter also presented a chart of inconsistencies in the witness’s testimony compared to his 2010 statement to police and a statement made at the preliminary hearing. If any other witness who was not developmentally delayed made so many conflicting statements “the reliability of that witness would be decimated,” he said.
 
Although he noted he does not believe the witness intentionally lied in his 2010 statement, he said the evidence is so riddled with inconsistencies that it would be dangerous to convict Boone on the current charges.
 
Cunningham admitted the witness has a poor memory and, at times, has trouble placing events in sequence. “[The witness’s] evidence, while confusing, is clear about certain things,” she argued.
 
She described Boone as “deceitful and manipulative” and argued that Boone’s primary goal was to infect the witness with HIV.
 
Cunningham pointed to one MSN chat in which Boone states he is “going over to breed” a 21-year-old man. She said while Boone had testified that 95 percent of what he wrote online was a lie, the evidence shows otherwise.
 
Cunningham also highlighted several of Boone’s posts on the website Bareback Exchange – and its sister site Bug Share – as evidence he was actively seeking to infect men with HIV. “He repeatedly lied to this court,” she said. “His denial must be viewed as an attempt to further his own agenda.”
 
In his final response, Carter said the judge should not consider Boone’s character. “The reality of this case is whether or not you can rely on [the witness] . . . and whether he was consenting or not,” he said.
 
Justice Bonnie Warkentin commended the attorneys for their hard work and cooperation. “I know this was a difficult trial.”
 
A decision on the sentencing date is set for Nov 20.
 
Second Boone HIV trial begins

Nov 14 — The Superior court trial of an HIV-positive Ottawa man began Nov 13 with the main witness, who is developmentally delayed, telling the court he wanted a romantic relationship with the accused.
 

Steven Boone has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, attempted aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, administering a noxious substance – his semen – and failure to comply with conditions for engaging in sexual acts with the witness.
 
Justice Bonnie Warkentin will hear the current trial, which comes two weeks after a jury found Boone guilty of three counts of attempted murder, in addition to other charges, for not disclosing his HIV-positive status to several sexual partners.
 
In addition to the testimony of the 23-year-old witness, the Crown presented a videotaped police interview, recorded May 12, 2010, in which the man, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, discusses his sexual relationship with Boone.
 
He states that the two met on Facebook in 2010 and then began using MSN chat for communication. “He seemed like a nice guy to be with, seemed like he was down to earth,” the man told police in the interview. “Like I could tell him anything.”
 
The witness said Boone visited his home on three separate occasions, performed oral sex on him against his will and tried to force anal sex twice. Boone was not wearing a condom when he attempted to penetrate him, the man said.
 
“He tried to push me over on my stomach so he could have a better chance . . . in my ass,” the man said in the 2010 interview. “So he could give me the diseases in his body.”
 
The witness said the experience left him feeling “uncontrolled and powerless.”
 
Even after Boone tried to force anal sex with the man, he said he planned to give Boone a Valentine’s Day teddy bear.
“I was waiting for the perfect . . . ” the witness testified before stopping to cry. “. . . I was waiting for the perfect person to come along. I thought it was him.”
 
The man said he used a condom the one time he penetrated Boone anally.
 
The witness’s mother also testified, stating that she had alerted her son after reading a news story about Boone, prompting him to go to police. She said the man’s father is gay and HIV-positive.
 
The witness said in the 2010 interview that he was devastated after seeing the newspaper story. “I thought everything was going to go right for once . . . I couldn’t breathe . . . My heart just felt crushed.”
 
The witness told the court that Boone constantly initiated “dirty talk” during their online conversations, which he said he felt was “too much information.” He said he wanted to get to know Boone better.
 
Boone’s lawyer, Ian Carter, attempted to discredit the witness’s interview and testimony by presenting several online conversations in which the witness “talked dirty.”
 
“Sucking my cock until I tell them to stop and my asshole,” Carter said, quoting the man’s words from an online discussion.
 
“Only on MSN,” the witness responded. “We didn’t actually do it in person.”
 
“You’re the one who brings up dirty talk . . . That’s not what you told police,” Carter said after quoting several more passages in which both the witness and Boone describe sexual acts.
 
The witness became visibly distressed by this line of questioning, prompting Justice Warkentin to call a recess.
 
The defence later continued to quote similar online discussions and asked the witness if Boone slept at his house the night of their first encounter.
 
When the witness said that Boone did spend the night, Carter presented MSN transcripts that indicate otherwise. “Twice you told the police officer he slept over the first night,” Carter said.
 
“I’m just a little confused right now,” the witness replied.
 
The trial continues Nov 14.