Trial judge did not misapprehend evidence or draw inferences unavailable on evidence

Supreme court | Criminal Law | Appeals | Appeal from conviction or acquittal

Six-year-old complainant went to park with 17-year-old accused young person. Complainant told mother that accused showed her his “wiener”, asked her to touch it, and licked her vagina, but accused denied these events. At trial, accused claimed that complainant had said sand pile she made looked like “wiener” and accused told her not to talk like that and broke pile up, which made complainant angry. Trial judge convicted accused of sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching. Judge did not believe accused’s evidence that complainant had been angry because explanation was made late and there was no collateral evidence that he knew she was angry. Judge did not believe accused’s evidence that complainant made pile of sand because sand was too dry, and if she did dig to find wet sand, she would have been very dirty. Majority of Court of Appeal allowed accused’s appeal and ordered new trial. Majority held that trial judge misapprehended evidence leading to unfair trial and miscarriage of justice. Crown appealed. Appeal allowed and convictions restored. As per reasons of dissenting judge, trial judge did not misapprehend evidence or draw inferences unavailable on evidence, nor did he err in his credibility findings.

R. v. C.J. (2019), 2019 CarswellMan 131, 2019 CarswellMan 132, 2019 SCC 8, 2019 CSC 8, Wagner C.J.C., Abella J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., and Brown J. (S.C.C.); reversed (2018), 2018 CarswellMan 224, 2018 MBCA 65, Holly C. Beard J.A., Marc M. Monnin J.A., and Jennifer A. Pfuetzner J.A. (Man. C.A.).

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