Crown appeal from acquittal on sexual assault charges involving three child complainants. Issue as to whether trial judge applied the wrong test regarding the assessment of the timing of the complainant’s disclosure of abuse (ie, delayed complaint), and regarding the trial judge’s assessment of uncertainties in the child complainant’s evidence.

Held: Appeal allowed. New trial.

Findings of credibility should not be affected by the timing of disclosure alone, or by use of a hypothetical ‘objectively reasonable’ victim. Also, trial judge seized upon the child complainant’s inability to accurately recall a number of innocuous things. “Although the trial judge stated the correct legal principles for assessing the evidence of children, he did not apply them.”

J. Brunnen – Defence Counsel