The Supreme Court of Canada has a full slate of appeal hearings this week: six criminal and one civil, on appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal. Three of the criminal appeals are from sexual assault convictions, and one involves search-and-seizure and child pornography charges. The remaining two appeals are from high-profile convictions of an Alberta couple for failing to provide the necessities of life to their young son, who died of meningitis after his parents had attempted to cure him through natural treatment.
May 14 – Nova Scotia – Cain v. R.
Criminal law: The appellant was charged with sexually assault. At trial the defence introduced the contents of the complainant’s statements to the police, made on the evening of the assault, and then challenged the complainant on inconsistencies. The trial judge convicted the appellant, finding that the complainant’s relation of the central facts was consistent. The appellant appealed, arguing that the trial judge’s use of the complainant’s statements to the police infringed the rule against prior consistent statements, and that the trial judge erred in using the prior consistent statement to confirm the in-court testimony of the complainant. The majority in the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.