His Majesty the King v. Edwin Tsang

(British Columbia) (Criminal) (By Leave)

(Publication ban in case)


Criminal law - Trial - Criminal law — Trial — Judgments — Sexual assault — Whether the Court of Appeal erred in concluding the trial judge relied on impermissible speculative reasoning in assessing credibility — Whether the error committed by the Court of Appeal for British Columbia raises two issues of public importance: (1) what principles govern in distinguishing between legitimate inferences and speculation; and (2) whether sexual assault complainants face additional barriers to having their evidence accepted as credible.


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The respondent and the complainant had mutual friends, but met for the first time at an event. When that event ended, the respondent drove the complainant and her friend, to Commodore Ballroom. The respondent and the complainant continued drinking and dancing and later left the Commodore in the respondent’s car. On the way to the complainant’s home, they got into the back seat to “make out”. The trial judge found that what ensued after the initial consensual foreplay was a sexual assault. The trial judge concluded that the respondent had forced the complainant to engage in non consensual oral sex, digital penetration and vaginal intercourse. The trial judge convicted the respondent of sexual assault. The Court of Appeal allowed the conviction appeal, set aside the conviction and ordered a new trial.