Supreme Court

Criminal Law

Offences against rights of property


Pieces of circumstantial evidence excluded any reasonable alternative to accused’s guilt

Accused was convicted of robbery of financial institution. Eyewitnesses and surveillance video indicated that robber was young man who wore sunglasses, gloves, bandana, and hat. Identity of robber and evidence against accused was circumstantial. Trial judge found DNA on pocket knife left in area of bank accessed only by bank employees and robber, and his DNA on t-shirt found in getaway car was fatal to defence. Accused was unsuccessful on his appeal as pieces of circumstantial evidence excluded any reasonable alternative to accused’s guilt. Accused appealed. Appeal dismissed. Based on principles in Villaroman, it was not unreasonable for trial judge to conclude that evidence as whole excluded all reasonable alternatives to guilt, especially given presence of accused’s DNA on two different pieces of evidence and both connected to robbery. Trial judge had not ignored other potential explanations.

R. v. Youssef (2018), 2018 CarswellOnt 18964, 2018 CarswellOnt 18965, 2018 SCC 49, 2018 CSC 49, Moldaver J., Côté J., Brown J., Rowe J., and Martin J. (S.C.C.); affirmed (2018), 2018 CarswellOnt 227, 2018 ONCA 16, John Laskin J.A., K. Feldman J.A., and R.A. Blair J.A. (Ont. C.A.).

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