Tuesday, September 1, 1998

Harold Levy

p. B4.

Crown, defence square off as dominatrix trial nears end

Credibility on both sides attacked in final arguments

Prosecutor Peter Westgate launched a devastating attack on dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford's credibility as her trial for keeping a common bawdy house neared completion yesterday.

Bedford, who calls herself Madame de Sade was charged Sept. 15, 1994, after York Region police invaded her "House of Erotica" bungalow in Thornhill.

Disregard testimony

"Miss Bedford is a complete and utter stranger to the truth," Westgate told Judge Roy Bogusky, who will deliver his decision on Oct. 9. "She is attempting to deceive this court."

Her testimony has the weight of a helium balloon," Westgate added, pointing to inconsistencies in her testimony, "I am going to ask to disregard it."

Bedford had testified during the 10-day trial that she had set up her "dungeon" in 1992 as an escape from the life of a prostitute.

She swore that she had strictly enforced a rule that barred her employees from performing sexual acts on clients, and that clients who insisted on conventional sex were told to go elsewhere.

But Alan Young, Bedford's lawyer, asked Bogusky to consider that Westgate had "pressed all the buttons that would make Bedford lose her cool" during cross-examination, by suggesting, "you're nothing but a prostitute."

Outside the courthouse, Bedford told The Star that the message she got from the attack on her credibility was "once a whore, always a whore."

Young also accused Westgate of attacking Bedford's credibility in his closing argument "to gloss over" problems in the crown's case.

Crown failed

Earlier he charged the crown had failed to prove any sexual acts had taken place on the premises with Bedford's knowledge and control.

He said the charges should be thrown out because the crown had not proven the habitual sexual acts necessary to constitute the premises a bawdy house.

Bedford faces up to two years in prison if convicted.

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Created: September 9, 1998
Last modified: September 9, 1998

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