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Man not guilty of sex assaults, other charges

Friends, family of accused cried and hugged each other as jurors revealed their decision
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The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo. Michael Purvis/SooToday
Tyson Noel was acquitted Thursday of all the charges he faced in connection with complaints from a young woman who accused him of sexually and physically abusing her.

Jurors returned to the courtroom at 8 p.m. to deliver their verdicts on 16 charges, following deliberations that had begun about 2:30 p.m.

As the court clerk went through the various counts, the jury foreperson replied "not guilty" to each charge.

The complainant, accompanied by another young woman, sat at the back of the courtroom, showing little emotion.

Her identity is protected by a publication ban.

Noel's family and supporters cried and hugged each other as they heard what the jury of eight women and four men had decided.

The 23-year-old Sault Ste. Marie man was charged with multiple counts of sexual and physical assault, as well as as three counts of forcible confinement, and single counts each of assault causing bodily harm and threatening to kill a dog.

The offences were alleged to have occurred in 2014 and 2015.

During the trial, which began Feb. 27, the complainant spent three days on the witness stand being questioned by prosecutor Heidi Mitchell and cross-examined by defence lawyer Eric McCooeye.

The 21-year-old woman detailed a litany abuse that she said she suffered at the hands of Noel.

She described being sexually assaulted, including incidents where she said the defendant used objects in his attacks.

The complainant also testified that Noel had held a knife to her throat on two occasions, and punched, kicked, and struck her other times during arguments.

She talked about one incident, where she said Noel threw her across a room and she was knocked unconscious when her head hit a portable heater.

When Noel took the witness stand in his own defence, he denied the allegations and told the court much of what was described "never happened."

He said he never threatened the woman with a knife or to kill the dog with it.

As well, he insisted the sexual acts were consensual and that he had never forced himself upon the complainant.

Noel said the pair often engaged in horseplay, which may have caused bruises on both of them.

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