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Court dismisses appeal of conviction for historic indecent assault

The appellant had been found guilty and sentenced to a prison term of 18 months
Ontario Court of Appeal

Ontario's Court of Appeal has upheld a conviction for indecent assault for an incident that happened in White River some time between November 1980 and December 1982.

The court on Thursday released its decision in the matter, dismissing the appellant's appeal of both the conviction and sentence.

The appellant stood trial in 2019 and was found guilty of the one count of indecent assault, and was sentenced to a prison term of 18 months by Superior Court Justice Edward E. Gareau.

At trial, the complainant testified that there were three separate incidents that took place over a period of about three years when she was between the ages of 10 and 13.

The complainant went to police in 2016.

The appellant, who was between the ages of 18 and 20 at the time, testified that he never sexually touched the complainant and frequently answered questions by saying "never happened."

The appeal court decision said the trial judge found the appellant's testimony to "be rehearsed, unbelievable at points, difficult to accept, and lacking the ring of truth." Meanwhile, the trial judge found the complainant's testimony to be "compelling and convincing," while noting its consistency.

The appellant had argued that the trial judge erred in his ruling by failing to grapple with reliability concerns about the complainant's evidence, rejecting his evidence because of his demeanour and "flat denials," and using the complainant's lack of embellishment to bolster her credibility.

He also appealed sentencing, arguing that the trial judge erred by not imposing a conditional sentence.

The appeal court found no reason to overturn the trial judge's findings for conviction, and that there were no grounds to interfere in the sentence.


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