Syrian refugee, Soleiman Hajj Soleiman, is standing trial for six counts of sexual assault and another six counts of sexual interference for a series of alleged gropings and assaults on six minor girls that took place at the West Edmonton Mall World Waterpark wave pool in 2017.
Court is into its second week of testimony and I'm back to being the lone reporter in the courtroom.
Last week wrapped up with the testimony of one of the first responding police officers — a 12 year veteran of the Edmonton city police. He interviewed the minor complainants, saying they all described their assaulter in a similar manner.
Monday, court heard testimony from another child witness, a 15 year old girl. She was not a victim but rather their champion.
After hearing two of her friends talk about being groped and grabbed by the bearded man in the goggles and bright blue shorts, she became aware of him swimming towards her in the wave pool.
She described him as like a hippo, with just his eyes out of the water staring at her. She said she told her friend to swim away as fast as she could.
When she heard two more of her friends were also alleged to have been assaulted by the same man, she gathered her friends and made them go as a group to the lifeguard, stand to point out the man in the wave pool, testifying that “no one does this to my friends”.
The young witness could not be absolutely certain that the accused was the man she identified to lifeguards that day as his appearance has changed drastically, with his long beard gone in favour of a clean shaven face.