SASKATOON – Well-known Saskatoon businessman, Nowshad Ali, was acquitted of sexual assault at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Saskatoon Friday. Ali was accused of inappropriately touching a young girl on two separate occasions ten years ago.
A teary-eyed Ali was seen shaking hands with defence lawyer, Ron Piche, outside the court after he was found not guilty. He says the trial’s emotional impact has been difficult to handle.
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“Of course, I’m not surprised. But I would definitely have to say that I am relieved at the outcome and the decision,” he said.
Earlier, the court heard testimony from the now 21-year-old and her mother. Both cannot be identified under a publication ban.
The woman’s mother testified that her daughter came forward and told her Ali put his hands between her legs twice.
Ali consistently denied the allegations and added that something must have been “misinterpreted.”
READ MORE: Trial ends for man accused of sexually assaulting a girl 10 years ago
On Friday, the judge ruled that based on the lack of physical evidence and inconsistencies in the testimony, Ali wasn’t proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
That doubt also stems from the fact that the accusations trace back to ten years ago.
“It’s a fine line between giving a lot of leeway to a complainant about an incident that’s this historic and having faith that the evidence is reliable,” said Piche.
“The court was quite clear that credibility wasn’t the issue here, it was the reliability of the evidence.”
Piche says despite being found not guilty, Ali will still have to repair the reputation he’s lost from the trial.
“To have this come up in the manner that it did, especially also being a person of faith, and all of the things I hold to be true and dear…this really tore me apart,” said Ali.