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McCann sex attack trial: court sees CCTV film of incident
A ROYAL Marine charged with sexual assault had an “exemplary” record of wartime service, a court heard yesterday.
Corporal Paul McCann, who said the woman consented to the encounter, has fought in Afghanistan three times.
The 30-year-old is accused of assaulting a student he found collapsed outside the Sherbet Lounge bar in Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, on March 10 last year.
McCann told the jury of four men and eight women: “I thought she was happy enough with what was going on.”
The court heard McCann, of Salerno Place, Poole, was on a night out after completing a military diving course.
The jury was shown CCTV of him approaching the 21-year-old woman, who was lying on the pavement at around 1.42am.
McCann, who is married with three children, said he could not remember that part of the incident but suggested he would have been trying to help.
He helped her to the side of the club and was later seen kissing her while they stood leaning against the outside of the bar. He also undid his belt.
He told the jury he had some memory of this part of the incident and said: “I never thought at any point that she was drunker than me.”
Eddie Gritt, defending, said the footage showed the woman touching him in an explicit manner and trying to put her leg around him.
Mr Gritt said: “All of these actions give Mr McCann reason to believe she was consenting.”
And he noted that during the nine-minute long clinch, five people walked past without intervening.
He told the jurors: “You are not being asked to decide whether his behaviour is ungentlemanly or disgraceful, you are being asked to decide whether you are watching a sexual crime being committed.”
In cross-examination, prosecutor Rob Griffiths said McCann had not called an ambulance or a taxi and that the lady collapsed to the floor again shortly after the police arrived.
The court heard McCann, who is said to be a Glaswegian, also served in Kosovo, Iraq and Northern Ireland.
He received a commendation for bravery for storming a Taliban compound in Afghanistan in 2002.
Major Michel Cataldo, who was described as his ‘line manager’, said McCann had an exemplary record and was: “Very well respected by his peers and officers alike.”
The court has previously heard the woman has no memory of the incident.
The jury was sent to consider its verdict on Thursday. The case continues and McCann denies the charge.