2014 SCC 18

In 2014 SCC 18, the Supreme Court found that Mr. H should be convicted of sexual assault.

At trial, Mr. H, a 37-year-old man, was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 27 months in jail. Additional orders included a DNA sample, and a 20-year registration as a sex offender.

Mr. H met Ms. R, a 52-year-old woman, on a dating website: Plenty of Fish. It was the first time Ms. R tried using an online dating site. Mr. H had used the site a number of times and had used various handles for his profiles, but did not use his real name. The two communicated by email and phone a few times before meeting for a date. He used a false name and lied about his personal circumstances when they met. Mr. H suggested that they go for a walk on their second date. He picked her up and they drove to a field. They kissed in the car and Mr. H touched Ms. R’s breasts. He suggested they snuggle in the back seat. Ms. R told him she was not interested in sex. In the back seat, Mr. H forced himself on Ms. R and ejaculated in her.

She didn’t report the assault to the police because she thought she would not be believed. Lat-er her niece said she had met a man through Plenty of Fish that sounded like Mr. H. Ms. R saw him at the restaurant where they had met for their first date with another woman. This motivated Ms. R to report the assault to the police. She had not kept any record of their conversations on the dating site or email.

Mr. H testified that they had made out and fooled around but when Ms. R said she didn’t want to go to the back seat that he didn’t make her and they did not have sex. However, Mr. H had a girlfriend at the time who received an anonymous letter and confronted Mr. H about seeing other women and he confessed to kissing Ms. R in the back of their truck, which was taken as an informal admission. The court did not find Mr. H credible.

At the court of appeal, the majority found that the trial judge had not properly applied the test for the burden of proof or conducted a thorough enough analysis of the evidence, and so ordered a new trial. A dissenting judge disagreed and found the trial judge had properly applied the test. On appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, the court agreed with the dissenting judge of the Court of Appeal and found that the trial judge had properly assessed the evidence and confirmed Mr. H’s guilty verdict.

Also see: [2013] SCCA No 336 (Leave to appeal); 2013 PECA 11 (Appeal); 2013 PECA 4 (Appeal); 2013 PESC 3 (Sentencing); 2012 PESC 30 (Trial).

Criminal Offence(s): Sexual Assault