Abdullah Youssef v. Her Majesty the Queen
(Ontario) (Criminal) (As of Right)
Criminal law - Evidence - Criminal law - Evidence - Accused charged with robbery - Crown’s case based on circumstantial evidence - Whether trial judge erred in concluding that evidence met test required when Crown’s case is based on circumstantial evidence, because evidence failed to establish temporal connection between accused and crime.
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The appellant was charged with robbery and with other offences arising out of the robbery, after a young man robbed a branch of the Bank of Montreal in London, Ontario. The main issue at trial was the identity of the robber. The evidence against the appellant was circumstantial and consisted of his DNA found on a pocket knife left in an area of the bank accessed only by the bank employees and the robber, and of his DNA on a t-shirt found in the getaway car. The trial judge found the appellant guilty. He appealed his convictions, arguing that the verdicts were unreasonable because the trial judge’s finding that he was the robber was not the only rational inference on the evidence.
The majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, holding that the circumstantial evidence excluded any reasonable alternative to the appellant’s guilt. Feldman J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal and entered acquittals. She was of the view that the verdicts were unreasonable because the evidence did not establish a temporal connection between the appellant and the crime.
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