A Regina courtroom was full of love and support for an alleged sexual assault victim on Monday morning as she testified, describing what she said happened just over a year ago.
But for one chair, the entire front row in the provincial courtroom was filled with her family and friends.
This was for the preliminary hearing in a sexual assault case, which determines whether there is enough evidence to go to trial, so none of the evidence presented in court can be published. The alleged victim’s name cannot be published either due to a publication ban.
The woman was 17-years-old at the time of the alleged attack, but she’s 18 now.
One of the friends in the front row said the testimony was tough to listen to, and she couldn’t cry in court.
“It was scary and so sad to hear that your friend had to go through that.”
She called the teen very strong.
“She doesn’t really talk about it much, she doesn’t bring it up. She pushes it to the side, but she wants justice for herself and others that maybe have been through the same thing.”
The friend said she will be in court through the rest of the preliminary hearing and if there is a trial as well.
“Everyone’s here for her just to show her that we love her and we care for her and we’re going to be always there for her.”
According to a release from Regina police at the time, the teen met with a man to talk about buying a phone but he allegedly kidnapped her, forced her out of the city, and sexually assaulted her. She eventually escaped the car and called police.
Kohl Elder was arrested that day and charged on 11 counts, including attempted murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, sexual assault with a weapon, and uttering threats. Elder was 19 at the time but had turned 20 by the hearing. In November 2015, Elder underwent a psychiatric assessment.
The alleged victim was the first to present evidence and she sat cross-legged on the stand with the Regina police service dog, Merlot, in front of her for comfort.
On the other side of the courtroom, Elder sat in the prisoner box. He was wearing prison clothes, with his long, dark hair pulled behind his head. He’s a large, heavy-set man and only moved during the victim’s testimony to change his sitting position. Elder didn’t react as the details of the night were recited.