OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada has restored the sexual assault conviction of a Newfoundland and Labrador man.
In its unanimous 7-0 decision Friday, the Supreme Court says an appeals court erred in overturning the man’s conviction.
The man — who cannot be identified because of a publication ban — was convicted by jury of sexually assaulting his niece.
During an initial interview with a male police officer, a social worker and her mother, the girl described only one incident of sexual abuse and could not remember many details.
In a subsequent interview with a female police officer, the girl described more incidents that she said she did not feel comfortable talking about in the presence of a male officer and her mother.
The appeals court was troubled by inconsistencies in the girl’s testimony and overturned the conviction.
But the Supreme Court said the jury had all the information it needed to reach its decision to convict.
“Respectfully, the court of appeal, while rightly conscious of its responsibility to conduct a thorough review of the record, erred by applying the wrong legal test in carrying out that review,” Justice Thomas Cromwell wrote for the court.
“It further erred by failing to take a sufficiently deferential stance in relation to the credibility findings made by the jury.”