2015 ABCA 222

In 2015 ABCA 222, the Crown appealed a costs order against it after Mr. L was acquitted of sexually assaulting his three teenaged step-daughters.

The trial judge did not find the daughters and their mother, Ms. F, to be credible witnesses. The trial judge found that the Crown lawyers should have realized that there was no reason to move forward with the trial after hearing from the girls’ numerous inconsistencies in cross ex-amination. But the Crown still called the Ms. F as a witness and continued with the trial. The trial judge awarded costs as a result.

The trial judge found Mr. L’s evidence to be clear and credible. Ms. F was found to be motivated by malice towards Mr. L. She had sent harassing emails to Mr. L and was stalking him. He had to get a restraining order against her.

At the appeal court the court allowed the appeal, finding that calling the mother was part of the Crown’s litigation strategy and her evidence was relevant to the narrative. The Crown still had relevant evidence to present to the jury and it was within their prosecutorial discretion to continue with the trial and not withdrawal the charges. There was no abuse of process. The costs appeal was allowed and the cost order was removed.

Also see: 2013 ABQB 531 (Cost award)

Criminal Offence(s): Sexual Assault