Appeal from sexual assault conviction. Allegation of bias. After trial had started, the accused sought an adjournment and fled after it was denied. In reasons for denying the adjournment and finding the appellant absconded, the judge referred to the application as “a sham designed to delay the administration of justice”, and suggested he absconded to avoid consequences of trial.
Held: Appeal dismissed.
“[T]he trial judge…used language that, to the uniformed, might have inferred the trial judge’s belief that the appellant wanted to avoid the consequences of a trial and “consequences” might well have included a finding of guilt”. But putting comments in the context of Garofoli, 1988 CanLII 3270, and the trial judge’s belief that the accused’s reason was not bona fide, “his words do not rise to the level of bias or a reasonable apprehension of bias”. The trial judge remained cognizant of the presumption of innocence and the Crown’s burden of proof.
D. Anderson – Defence Counsel