Ontario Criminal


Accused convicted of aggravated assault in relation to burning of complainant with boiling water

Two accused, male and female, were both charged with aggravated assault, assault with weapon, aggravated sexual assault and unlawful confinement. Complainant was urgently brought from her place of residence that she shared with both accused to hospital suffering from serious and horrendous wounds, including critical third-degree burns to 18 per cent of her body. While it was true that complainant maintained that she purposely caused all of injuries to herself “to punish herself” throughout first part of her examination-in-chief, upon being cross-examined she reversed that position and testified about abuse inflicted upon her by both accused. Crown submitted complainant’s original charade that she had inflicted injuries to herself made no sense and reliable medical evidence was inconsistent with any theory that injuries were either self-inflicted or accidental. Complainant claimed three instances where male accused poured boiling hot water on her. Complainant testified that female accused was present but not always directly involved. Burns to complainant were serious and required her to remain in hospital for 13 days and was left with permanent scars. Both doctors testified that pain associated with inciting burn injury at time of injury would be one of most excruciating, uncomfortable pain that one could possibly imagine. Although one doctor admitted that it was theoretically possible, in his opinion patient would have almost involuntary reflex to move away from what was causing pain. Both accused convicted of aggravated assault. Female accused’s testimony was not credible when it came to her lack of knowledge about complainant’s various injuries. While complainant’s recantations were problematic, even taking her self-harm scenario at its highest, her version was neither logical nor consistent with nature, mechanism and position of burn injuries sustained. Court rejected complainant’s testimony of self-harm and accepted that she was inflicted with boiling water by accused. Court rejected female accused’s evidence and found that she was either principal or party to acts perpetrated upon complainant. Court found two accused had exclusive opportunity and did in fact, individually or in tandem applied boiling hot water on complainant’s right thigh, back, neck, shoulder and in her groin area. Court found injuries clearly met definition of maiming. Court reached conclusion that there were at least two distinct incidents where both accused deliberately and intentionally poured boiling water on complainant’s body resulting in burn injuries.

R. v. Anderson (Sep. 22, 2015, Ont. S.C.J., A.J. Goodman J., File No. 11173) 125 W.C.B. (2d) 12.

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