Erik Oswaldo Ramos v. Her Majesty the Queen
(Manitoba) (Criminal) (As of Right)
(Publication ban in case)
Criminal law - Evidence - Criminal law - Evidence - Witnesses - Credibility - W.D. analysis - Sufficiency of reasons - Whether the trial judge erred in law in his application of the principles arising from the case of R. v. W.(D.),  1 S.C.R. 742, to the credibility analysis in issue.
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(PUBLICATION BAN IN CASE)
At trial before judge alone, the appellant, Mr. Ramos, was convicted of sexual assault and sexual interference of his girlfriend’s daughter. The conviction for sexual assault was conditionally stayed.
The appellant appealed his convictions, arguing that (1) the trial judge erred in law in his application of R. v. W.D.,  1 S.C.R. 742, in his credibility analysis; (2) there was a miscarriage of justice due to the ineffective assistance of his previous counsel, and; (3) the trial judge erred in law in not ordering the remedies of a mistrial or the recalling of the complainant and her mother for cross-examination.
A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. On the first ground, the majority saw no legal error in the trial judge’s assessment of credibility. The trial judge’s reasons were sufficient in explaining how the credibility concerns were resolved on the live issue in this case. The trial judge did not err in his application of W.D.: it was evident from the trial judge’s reasons that he did not decide the case simply by choosing one version of events, as the appellant argued. There was also no misapprehension of evidence from the trial judge’s comments about the appellant’s opportunity to be alone with the complainant. Finally, the trial judge did not err in relying too heavily on “demeanor evidence”. The majority also dismissed the second and third grounds of appeal.
In dissent, Steel J.A. agreed with the majority’s disposition of the second and third grounds of appeal. However, she held that the trial judge erred in his application of the principles of W.D. to the credibility analysis in this case. In her view, while the trial judge acknowledged that his task was not to choose one version of the events over another, he did just that in his reasons. She would have set aside the conviction and ordered a new trial.
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