R. v. C.J., 2011 NSCA 77

JudgeFichaud, Beveridge and Farrar, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal of Nova Scotia (Canada)
Case DateSeptember 07, 2011
JurisdictionNova Scotia
Citations2011 NSCA 77;(2011), 307 N.S.R.(2d) 200 (CA)

R. v. C.J. (2011), 307 N.S.R.(2d) 200 (CA);

    975 A.P.R. 200

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2011] N.S.R.(2d) TBEd. SE.013

C.J. (appellant) v. Her Majesty The Queen (respondent)

(CAC 331605; 2011 NSCA 77)

Indexed As: R. v. C.J.

Nova Scotia Court of Appeal

Fichaud, Beveridge and Farrar, JJ.A.

September 7, 2011.

Summary:

The accused was charged with sexual offences against his common law spouse's teenage daughter (sexual assault, inviting sexual touching, sexual exploitation and sexual interference). He was convicted of two charges, one was conditionally stayed and the other was dismissed. The verdict turned on credibility. The trial judge admitted into evidence testimony from Crown witnesses that the accused had in the past watched and recorded pornography, and had engaged in phone sex. This evidence was referenced in finding the accused untruthful. The accused appealed, arguing that the trial judge erred in admitting and using evidence of bad character to make the adverse credibility finding that led to his conviction.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial, if the Crown chose to do so. The evidence of phone sex was irrelevant to the charges, should not have been admitted and should not have been used to assess the accused's credibility. The evidence respecting pornography had some probative value, but the trial judge erred in failing to determine whether its probative value outweighed its prejudicial effect. This was not an appropriate case to dismiss the appeal notwithstanding the errors under s. 686(1)(b)(iii) of the Criminal Code.

Editor's Note: Certain names in the following case have been initialized or the case otherwise edited to prevent the disclosure of identities where required by law, publication ban, Maritime Law Book's editorial policy or otherwise.

Criminal Law - Topic 5045

Appeals - Indictable offences - Dismissal of appeal if no prejudice, substantial wrong or miscarriage results - What constitutes a substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice - [See first Criminal Law - Topic 5449 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 5204.3

Evidence and witnesses - General - Admissibility - Evidence of disposition or propensity of accused - [See first Criminal Law - Topic 5449 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 5209

Evidence and witnesses - Admissibility and relevancy - Prejudicial evidence - [See first Criminal Law - Topic 5449 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 5449

Evidence and witnesses - Evidence respecting the accused - Character of accused (incl. discreditable conduct) - General - The accused was charged with sexual offences against his common law spouse's teenage daughter (sexual assault, inviting sexual touching, sexual exploitation and sexual interference) - He was convicted of two charges, one was conditionally stayed and the other was dismissed - The verdict turned on credibility - The trial judge admitted into evidence testimony from Crown witnesses that the accused had in the past watched and recorded pornography, and had engaged in phone sex - This evidence was referenced by the trial judge in finding the accused untruthful - The accused appealed, arguing that the trial judge erred in admitting and using evidence of bad character to make the adverse credibility finding that led to his conviction - The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal allowed the appeal - The phone sex evidence was irrelevant to the issues at trial, should not have been admitted, and was impermissibly used to assess the accused's credibility - The pornography evidence had some probative value, but the trial judge erred in failing to weigh its probative value against its prejudicial effect before admitting the evidence - The accused had not put his character in issue - Given that this was a he said she said case to be resolved on credibility, and the trial judge ruled adversely on the accused's credibility using inadmissible evidence, it was not appropriate to invoke s. 686(1)(b)(iii) of the Criminal Code to dismiss the appeal notwithstanding the errors - See paragraphs 20 to 56.

Criminal Law - Topic 5449

Evidence and witnesses - Evidence respecting the accused - Character of accused (incl. discreditable conduct) - General - The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal rejected the submission that bad character evidence was admissible unless it involved illegal behaviour - The court held that the rule also applied to acts of a discreditable nature not involving criminality - See paragraphs 26 to 31.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Kienapple, [1975] 1 S.C.R. 729; 1 N.R. 322, refd to. [para. 16].

R. v. Van der Peet (D.M.), [1996] 2 S.C.R. 507; 200 N.R. 1; 80 B.C.A.C. 81; 130 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 19].

R. v. Buhay (M.A.), [2003] 1 S.C.R. 631; 305 N.R. 158; 177 Man.R.(2d) 72; 304 W.A.C. 72, refd to. [para. 19].

R. v. Mann (P.H.), [2004] 3 S.C.R. 59; 324 N.R. 215; 187 Man.R.(2d) 1; 330 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 19].

R. v. Couture (D.R.), [2007] 2 S.C.R. 517; 364 N.R. 1; 244 B.C.A.C. 1; 403 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 19].

R. v. Handy (J.), [2002] 2 S.C.R. 908; 290 N.R. 1; 160 O.A.C. 201, refd to. [para. 20].

R. v. Arp (B.), [1998] 3 S.C.R. 339; 232 N.R. 317; 114 B.C.A.C. 1; 186 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 21].

R. v. Mahalingan (R.), [2008] 3 S.C.R. 316; 381 N.R. 199; 243 O.A.C. 252, refd to. [para. 24].

R. v. Erez (S.O.) (2010), 271 O.A.C. 29; 2010 ONCA 776, refd to. [para. 26].

R. v. Robertson, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 918; 75 N.R. 6; 20 O.A.C. 200, refd to. [para. 29].

R. v. Morris, [1983] 2 S.C.R. 190; 48 N.R. 341, refd to. [para. 29].

Dhawan v. College of Physicians and Surgeons (N.S.) (1998), 168 N.S.R.(2d) 201; 505 A.P.R. 201 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 29].

R. v. S.G.G., [1997] 2 S.C.R. 716; 214 N.R. 161; 94 B.C.A.C. 81; 152 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Lucas, [1963] 1 C.C.C. 1 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Chambers (No. 2), [1990] 2 S.C.R. 1293; 119 N.R. 321, refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Khan (M.A.), [2001] 3 S.C.R. 823; 279 N.R. 79; 160 Man.R.(2d) 161; 262 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. Bevan and Griffith, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 599; 154 N.R. 245; 64 O.A.C. 165, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. Van (D.), [2009] 1 S.C.R. 716; 388 N.R. 200; 251 O.A.C. 295, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. Charlebois (P.), [2000] 2 S.C.R. 674; 261 N.R. 239, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. Jaw (S.G.), [2009] 3 S.C.R. 26; 393 N.R. 246; 464 A.R. 149; 467 W.A.C. 149, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. K.M.E., [2009] 2 S.C.R. 19; 389 N.R. 20; 272 B.C.A.C. 1; 459 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. O'Brien (M.D.) (2011), 417 N.R. 52; 304 N.S.R.(2d) 383; 960 A.P.R. 383; 2011 SCC 29, refd to. [para. 51].

R. v. John, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 476; 63 N.R. 141; 11 O.A.C. 391, refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. P.L.S., [1991] 1 S.C.R. 909; 122 N.R. 321; 90 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 234; 280 A.P.R. 234, refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. F.F.B., [1993] 1 S.C.R. 697; 148 N.R. 161; 120 N.S.R.(2d) 1; 332 A.P.R. 1, refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. Robinson (D.) [1996] 1 S.C.R. 683; 194 N.R. 181; 72 B.C.A.C. 161; 119 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. Crosby (W.S.), [1995] 2 S.C.R. 912; 183 N.R. 22; 143 N.S.R.(2d) 57; 411 A.P.R. 57, refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. Saulnier (L.M.) (2005), 231 N.S.R.(2d) 342; 733 A.P.R. 342; 2005 NSCA 54, refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. West (W.F.) (2003), 219 N.S.R.(2d) 268; 692 A.P.R. 268; 2003 NSCA 137, refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. R.K.N. (1997), 97 O.A.C. 299; 32 O.R.(3d) 537 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 54].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Gibson, John L., Criminal Law: Evidence, Practice and Procedure (1988) (looseleaf), generally [para. 28].

Counsel:

Roger Burrill, for the appellant;

James A. Gumpert, Q.C., and Tanya Carter, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on June 15, 2011, at Halifax, N.S., before Fichaud, Beveridge and Farrar, JJ.A., of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

On September 7, 2011, Fichaud, J.A., delivered the following judgment for the Court of Appeal.

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