Lina Maryanne Francis v. Her Majesty the Queen
(Quebec) (Criminal) (By Leave)
Criminal law - Criminal law – Sexual assault causing bodily harm – Judgments and orders – Reasons – Whether the Court of Appeal erred in concluding that the trial judge’s reasons sufficiently explained why she concluded that the applicant had committed a sexual assault causing bodily harm – Whether there was enough evidence to support a conviction for sexual assault causing bodily harm.
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Ms. Francis, applicant, was convicted of assault causing bodily harm and sexual assault causing bodily harm. It is alleged that she choked the complainant and pulled and squeezed his testicles in a fit of rage. Ms. Francis and the complainant were cohabitating at the time of the assaults, and there was evidence that the relationship was an unhappy one. A few days prior to the assaults, the complainant had told Ms. Francis that he was seeing someone else. At trial, Ms. Francis denied the assaults altogether. The trial judge did not believe Ms. Francis’ version of events. She found the complainant’s evidence to be credible and reliable. The Court of Appeal dismissed Ms. Francis’ appeal. It rejected Ms. Francis’ argument that the assault was not sexual in nature because no pleasure or sexual gratification was sought. A sexual assault, explained the court, is above all an act of violence and physical dominance – a violation of the sexual integrity of the victim. The court also rejected Ms. Francis’ argument that the trial judge erred in inferring that she was jealous. The court noted that while the trial judge’s reasons were brief, they were intelligible and allowed for meaningful appellate review.
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