R. v. A.C.
(1) Attempted Murder;
(2) Sexual Assault;
(3) Assault with a Weapon;
(5) Criminal Harassment;
(6) Utter Death Threats;
(7) Dangerous Driving
The client, A.C., was charged with the attempted murder and sexual assault of a woman, that he claimed was his girlfriend, as well as with several other related offences. The complainant denied that she was the client’s girlfriend and maintained that they had a plutonic friendship. The complainant alleged that after the client sexually assaulted her, he attempted to kill her by pushing her out of his SUV while driving on the highway. It was not disputed that the complainant was somehow ejected from the client’s SUV thereby suffering serious injuries.
The client maintained that he and the complainant were involved in a sexual relationship, that she was emotionally unstable and that she tried to kill herself by jumping out of his SUV.
At the client’s preliminary inquiry, the complainant became alarmed when I asked her questions about her sexual relationship with the client. The complainant denied having engaged in any sexual activity with the client and appeared to be concerned that her parents were in the courtroom.
Investigation by the defence uncovered receipts from various motels in which the client and the complainant had stayed. Investigation by the defence also uncovered a card which the complainant had sent to the client. The card was obviously a love letter. The client maintained that after he received this card, he and the complainant spent New Year’s Eve at a motel where they had consensual sexual intercourse.
At the commencement of the client’s trial, I successfully applied to the trial Judge for an order allowing me to cross-examine the complainant regarding her previous sexual history and allowing the defence to otherwise tender such evidence. Our “rape shield” laws prohibit the defence from adducing such evidence without the permission of the trial Judge.
At the client’s trial, the complainant repeated, during a very precise and methodical cross-examination that continued for over one and one-half days, that she was not involved in a sexual relationship with the client and that they were not lovers. When confronted with the card that she had sent to the client, she became hostile and refused to answer questions regarding who she was with on New Year’s Eve.
As a result of what was virtually a complete discrediting of the complainant during cross-examination, the Crown withdrew the charge of attempted murder and the allegations of sexual assault as well as almost all of the other related charges. The client was allowed to plead guilty to two minor assault charges and a minor charge of criminal harassment and was ordered to be on probation.
This was a truly fantastic victory that was the product of skill, experience, defence investigation and the decision to eliminate the jury in a case in which a jury might have felt sorry for the complainant as a result of her allegations of attempted murder and her possible attempted suicide.