• By: OLM Staff

Victim seeks justice as Ravens player Edward “Eddie” Ekiyor acquitted of brutal sexual assault

Former Carleton Ravens basketball player Edward “Eddie” Ekiyor, who was charged with overcome resistance to commit an offence, kidnapping, and sexual assault, in August of 2019, has been acquitted in a controversial decision.

The 24-year-old Ottawa native led the Carleton Ravens to the national basketball championship in March 2019.

The incident occurred one month later, on April 7, 2019, as the team celebrated its victory at a bar in the ByWard Market, where Ekiyor met the victim.

ABOVE: Former Carleton Ravens basketball player Edward "Eddie" Ekiyor leaving the Elgin Street Courthouse in Ottawa after he was released on bail following his being charged with several sexual assault related offences. (Photo: Wayne Cuddington/ Postmedia)

In the original Ottawa Police news release alleged that, “On April 7, the man met a 23-year-old woman at a bar in the ByWard Market area, where he plied her with alcohol and drugs.” According to police, “He then took her to an address in the city's west end and sexually assaulted her while she drifted in and out of consciousness.”

In a decision delivered on October 1, 2021, Ontario Court Justice Trevor Brown said, “It is my belief, having heard all of the evidence in this case, that (the victim) consumed unwittingly a date rape drug like GHB while at the bar.”

Brown called the case “a stark reminder of the insidiousness of date rape drugs.” He said, “It is a dangerous and utterly demoralizing reality that men use these drugs to target and victimize vulnerable young women,” he said. “People need to exercise extreme care when out drinking in public . . . Men and women need to look out for one another in such situations.” The Justice further commented that he believed the victim acted consciously but was unable to form reliable memories because of the effects of the drug. Justice Brown relied heavily on the testimony of a single witness who observed Ekiyor interacting with the victim earlier in the evening.

Brown said that, while he believed the victim was administered a date rape drug at the bar, there was no evidence that Ekiyor was the one to administer the drug. He ruled that the evidence provided was insufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim did not consent and Ekiyor was acquitted of sexual assault. 

In 2016, Ekiyor pleaded guilty to an August 2015 hit-and-run that left off-duty Ottawa police officer Val Curcio with serious back injuries. Ekiyor had been driving home from a house party when his vehicle hit Curcio, who was cycling, around 7:20 a.m. in Barrhaven. Police said Ekiyor fled the scene but was later arrested.

A petition is currently being circulated by the public to request an appeal be made by the Crown Attorney.

According to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, the Crown may appeal an acquittal by showing that there was a significant error of law. An example of an error of law may occur when important evidence is wrongly excluded at the trial.

To add your name to the petition to Crown Attorney, click on the following link: https://www.change.org/p/ontario-provincial-court-of-justice-woman-drugged-and-sexually-assaulted-support-needed-to-appeal?redirect=false

Header image: iStock