Supreme Court


Evidence

SIMILAR FACTS
Conviction admissible as evidence linking accused to prior offence

Accused charged with sexual assault. It was alleged that accused inserted wine cork in complainant’s vagina. Twelve years earlier accused convicted of inserting plastic bags in woman’s vagina. Crown tendered evidence of earlier assault as similar fact evidence. Trial judge refused to permit accused to challenge correctness of conviction on similar fact voir dire. Evidence admitted and accused convicted. Court of Appeal upheld conviction. Appeal dismissed. Trial judge entitled to use conviction for earlier offence as conclusive evidence that accused committed it for purposes of admissibility voir dire. Conviction was admissible as evidence linking accused to prior offence. Accused persons should be permitted to challenge correctness of prior convictions on similar fact voir dires only in rare situations where convictions had been overturned or undermined by fresh evidence.


R. v. Jesse

(Apr. 27, 2012, S.C.C., McLachlin C.J.C., LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Rothstein, Cromwell, Moldaver and Karakatsanis JJ., File No. 33694) Decision at 86 W.C.B. (2d) 969 affirmed. 100 W.C.B. (2d) 164 (46 pp.).

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