Crown appeal from acquittal on sexual assault charge. Complainant was between the ages of 11 and 16 at the time of the alleged offences. Regarding credibility, the trial judge stated (in part): “[a]s a matter of logic and common sense, one would expect that a victim of sexual abuse would demonstrate behaviours consistent with that abuse or at least some change of behaviour such as avoiding the perpetrator”.
Held: Appeal allowed, new trial.
“We must deal with this issue: is the expectation of avoidant conduct or clear behavioural changes by a sexual assault victim a matter of logic and common sense, or is it just another stereotype, or myth, that cannot be supported either as a matter of logic or as an available inference … to suggest that stereotypical thinking is merely logic or common sense is a licence for it to continue unmasked and unabated”.
D. Bullerwell – Defence Counsel