His Majesty the King v. S.S.
(Ontario) (Criminal) (As of Right)
(Publication ban in case)
Criminal law - Evidence, Admissibility, Hearsay - Criminal law – Evidence – Admissibility – Hearsay – Videotaped out-of-court statement given by complainant – Whether the majority of the Court of Appeal erred in law in finding that the trial judge erred in admitting the complainant’s out-of-court statement by (i) finding that the statement met the requirements of threshold reliability; and (ii) finding that the complainant had no motive to fabricate the allegations.
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The respondent was convicted of sexual assault and sexual interference, two offences perpetrated on the complainant when she was between six and eight years old. The convictions were based on the complainant’s unsworn, videotaped police statement, which the trial judge admitted into evidence by application of the principled exception to the hearsay rule, based on the requirements of necessity and threshold reliability. A majority of the Court of Appeal allowed the respondent’s appeal, set aside the conviction and entered an acquittal, concluding that the trial judge erred in law by admitting the out-of-court statement into evidence. MacPherson J.A., dissenting, would have dismissed the appeal from conviction.
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