The lawyer accused of sexually assaulting a Vancouver woman has been found not guilty

A lawyer accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a Vancouver hotel room has been cleared of the charges.

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The jury verdict in the case of Robert Zeunert, 59, came early Friday afternoon after less than a day of deliberations at the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver.

The alleged victim testified that she was heavily intoxicated when she happened to bump into Zeunert on 18 February 2020 at the Railway Club in Dunsmuir Street, where she had been out drinking with colleagues after work.

She said after spending several hours at the club they left, but she was drunk and unsteady on her feet.

The woman said that she and Zeunert walked from the club to the Sutton Place Hotel, where Zeunert, a resident of the northern BC community of Fort St. John, was staying while attending a meeting of the Law Foundation of BC

She told the jury that she couldn’t remember how to get to the hotel, and when they reached the hotel room, she collapsed face first on the bed like a “ton of bricks” and fell asleep.

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When she woke up, she found her pants and underwear had been removed and Zeunert was between her legs performing oral sex on her.

When QC Phillip Sebellin asked if she consented to having sex with the defendant, she replied, “Absolutely not.”

Robert Zeunert before the BC Supreme Court on Thursday March 2, 2023. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

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But Zeunert, a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, testified in his own defense and told the eight-member, four-member jury a different story.

Zeunert said he saw no indication that the alleged victim was drunk when they were at the bar and that he was attracted to her and found her interesting and funny.

Zeunert said that after they left the club, he flagged down a cab and they rode the cab a short distance before getting off near the Vancouver Hotel.

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He told the jury that at no time did she unsteady on her feet and converse with him.

After going through the Hotel Vancouver, they walked to Sutton Place and up to his hotel room, Zeunert said.

He said the alleged victim first went into the bathroom and then came out and sat across from him on the beds in the room.

Zeunert admitted that he briefly gave her oral sex and then didn’t go any further and then they both fell asleep. He said the sex was consensual.

In final submissions to the jury, Zeunert’s attorney, Richard Gibbs, argued that the alleged victim lied about her level of intoxication and her claim that she passed out when she arrived at the hotel room.

He urged the jury to come back quickly with an acquittal.

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Sebellin argued that the evidence was compelling that the alleged victim passed out when the sex began and therefore there could have been no consent.

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He told the jury, who began deliberations late Thursday afternoon, that Zeunert’s testimony did not ring true and was not credible.

When asked to comment on the verdict on Friday, Gibbs said in a text only: “Sometimes the accused is the victim.”

Gibbs said Zeunert had nothing further to add.

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