Warning: graphic content

A Saskatoon jury found nightclub owner Skipp Anderson guilty of sexually assaulting a friend in July 2016 after nearly seven hours of deliberations. The jury decided the victim did not consent when Anderson had sex with the man after a night of drinking and hot tubbing at Anderson’s home.

“It’s extraordinary relief, extraordinary gratitude for the process to return a result that reflects the reality of his lived experience and to be able to be affirmed,” Crown prosecutor Tamara Rock told reporters outside court after the verdict Thursday night.

The jury was tasked with deciding if sex between Anderson and his then 22-year-old friend was consensual or sexual assault. In his instructions to the jury, Justice Ron Mills explained if the jury finds the complainant was too intoxicated to consent, then consent doesn’t exist and Anderson must be found guilty of sexual assault. If the jury decides consent was given, or if Anderson honestly believed consent was given, then the jury must find him innocent, Mills said.

In her closing arguments Rock said the victim, who can’t be identified under a publication ban, drank too much, had to be pulled out of Anderson’s hot tub and was taken inside by Anderson and passed out in a spare bedroom. The victim said he blacked out but later woke up to Anderson having sex with him from behind.

“This was a hard factual case. It had a major memory loss due to intoxication fact situation,” Rock said. “That’s difficult facts but I see, as we all do, that society is being more and more receptive to the voices of people who experience sexual violence.”

Rock asked the jury to use “common sense” when deciding the case and argued the complainant was “grossly intoxicated” and was in no physical shape to initiate or sustain “vigorous sex” with Anderson, and that Anderson did not obtain consent.

Defence lawyer Brad Mitchell argued the two men had consensual sex and that the complainant initiated it both times. He said there’s “no doubt” the complainant was incapacitated at 11:30 p.m. when he was pulled out of the hot tub, but since the complainant doesn’t remember what happened, only Anderson can give evidence of how intoxicated the complainant was in the bedroom. He said to say Anderson is disappointed is an understatement.

“He's clearly very disappointed with the verdict and in shock and trying to digest what just happened,” Mitchell said after the decision.

Rock said it takes a “strong and brave person” to follow through with a sexual assault complaint and is happy his voice was heard.

“I’m hopeful that his experience will allow other people who experienced sexual violence to come forward,” she said.

Rock and Mitchell wouldn’t indicate what length of sentence they’d be arguing for but Rock said sentences for serious sexual assaults begin at three years.

Sentencing arguments are not expected to take place Friday but Anderson, who remains out of custody for now, is scheduled back in court Friday morning to begin the process.