Close X
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
ADVT 
National

Acquittal Of Stepfather On Sex Assault Charges Based On Stereotypes: Appeal Court

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 11 Jan, 2019
  • Acquittal Of Stepfather On Sex Assault Charges Based On Stereotypes: Appeal Court

MONTREAL — The Quebec Court of Appeal has overturned a man's acquittal on eight charges of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter, ruling that the trial judge was too quick to dismiss the testimony of the alleged victim.


Asserting that "nobody saw anything" to assess the credibility of a young complainant is not in keeping with the law, the Appeal Court concluded in a unanimous decision released Thursday.


"Certain comments of the judge suggest a stereotypical attitude concerning sexual assaults of children," Justice Simon Ruel wrote for the three-judge appeal panel.


Ruel said the trial judge, Denise Descoteaux of Quebec court, was wrong to imply the testimony of the alleged victim had to be corroborated to be credible. The assaults are alleged to have taken place over a period of six years when the girl was aged between six and 12. She was 15 when she testified at the trial in 2017.


In her ruling, Descoteaux was skeptical of the stepfather's claim that he was never alone with the child because he spent the entire day on his land cutting wood, year-round. The judge called his testimony "not transparent, not reliable, not sincere and not credible."


Yet she acquitted him, finding a reasonable doubt because of the limited reliability of the testimony of the girl, who had been unable to provide many details of the alleged assaults. The judge also questioned how the abuse could have gone on for so long without anyone noticing.


The Appeal Court said the trial judge evaluated the complainant's testimony as if she were an adult. It noted that it is understandable that a young child would not have the words to describe what she had suffered. And it said sexual abuse is a crime committed away from the view of others, often in the context of a relationship of trust or authority.


It has ordered a new trial for the accused, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the alleged victim.

MORE National ARTICLES

Death Of Innocent Boy, 15, Set Off By Plan To Kill Another Man: Police

Death Of Innocent Boy, 15, Set Off By Plan To Kill Another Man: Police

Vancouver police say they've pieced together the scene of a gang shooting where a 15-year-old youth was killed in the crossfire.

Death Of Innocent Boy, 15, Set Off By Plan To Kill Another Man: Police

Decision On Allan Schoenborn'S Request For Limited Release Not Immediately Due

Decision On Allan Schoenborn'S Request For Limited Release Not Immediately Due

Rishi Gill says Allan Schoenborn was before the review board Thursday requesting limited, staff-supported community outings.

Decision On Allan Schoenborn'S Request For Limited Release Not Immediately Due

Federal Watchdog Says Four-Year-Old Victims Rights Regime Falling Short

Federal Watchdog Says Four-Year-Old Victims Rights Regime Falling Short

OTTAWA — The new federal watchdog for victims of crime says rules meant to give victims and their families louder voices in the justice system have fallen short.

Federal Watchdog Says Four-Year-Old Victims Rights Regime Falling Short

Halifax Garage Owner Acquitted In Death Of Mechanic Burned When Van Caught Fire

Halifax Garage Owner Acquitted In Death Of Mechanic Burned When Van Caught Fire

The charge was the first in the province under Bill C-45 - also known as the Westray law - which was passed after 26 miners were killed when methane gas ignited in the Plymouth, N.S., mine.

Halifax Garage Owner Acquitted In Death Of Mechanic Burned When Van Caught Fire

Judge Gives Final Instructions To Jury In Murder Trial Of 12-Year-Old B.C. Girl

Judge Gives Final Instructions To Jury In Murder Trial Of 12-Year-Old B.C. Girl

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge says jurors will need to use their common sense in assessing the reliability of an alleged confession by a man accused of killing a 12-year-old girl.

Judge Gives Final Instructions To Jury In Murder Trial Of 12-Year-Old B.C. Girl

Voting Ban For Long-Term Expats Unconstitutional, Supreme Court Rules

Voting Ban For Long-Term Expats Unconstitutional, Supreme Court Rules

In a long-awaited decision that solidifies voting rights, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected government arguments that the law, enacted in 1993, promoted electoral fairness.

Voting Ban For Long-Term Expats Unconstitutional, Supreme Court Rules

PrevNext