Darren Edward Fedyck v. Her Majesty the Queen
(Manitoba) (Criminal) (As of Right)
Criminal law - Reasonable verdict - Criminal law - Reasonable verdict - Theft under $5,000 - Whether the trial judge misapprehended certain evidence - Whether the appellant’s guilt was the only conclusion available on the evidence.
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The appellant, a firefighter, was convicted of theft under $5,000, for stealing money and jewellery from an elderly woman he and several other firefighters found deceased in her home. The appellant’s coworkers found his behaviour at the scene suspicious and found large amounts of cash and jewellery in the pocket of his fleece jacket which he had left rolled up in the fire truck after first attending to the deceased. When confronted, the appellant claimed the money was his and that it was to pay for some repairs to be done to his vehicle. He also claimed the jewellery was his and that he intended to sell it. The trial judge rejected the appellant’s argument that there was a reasonable alternative explanation for the appellant’s possession of cash and jewellery at the time and entered a conviction. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Beard J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal and entered an acquittal. She found that the trial judge misapprehended certain evidence and erred in concluding that the appellant’s guilt was the only reasonable conclusion available on the totality of the evidence. In her view, the appellant’s alternative explanation that the money and jewellery were his was reasonably supported by the evidence.
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