Client Acquitted of Sexual Assault

For a person to be found guilty of a crime in this country, the jury must be sure that he committed the crime. Not pretty sure, but sure – period. This is another way of explaining the high burden that the prosecution must meet in every criminal case: proof of the charged offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

By the end of the cross examination of the person who alleged the sexual assault, during which the inconsistencies between the video surveillance and the complainant’s testimony were all pointed out, the client’s accuser acknowledged that she could only be “pretty sure” of what had happened between her and the client during the bus ride. There were many things that the complainant did not remember correctly, and she agreed that if she could be mistaken about those issues, she could be mistaken as to what exactly happened to her, or did not happen to her, on that bus. The client did not need to testify in his own defence.

In addressing the jury, Mr. MacDonald relied on the complainant’s equivocal degree of certainty as to what happened, together with the surveillance video which, while not showing the hands of the client, did not appear to show any hint of the alleged sexual assault. Within an afternoon of deliberations, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty.