Appellant was convicted under s 355(a) CC of possessing a vehicle obtained by fraud. At trial, accused admitted through agreed statement of facts that he was in possession of the vehicle and keys twelve days after the vehicle had been fraudulently acquired from a car rental agency by a third party. Trial judge applied the doctrine of recent possession to infer the appellant knew he possessed the vehicle without the owner’s consent.

 Held: Appeal allowed; new trial ordered.

 Test in Pearson, 2014 ABCA 379 for unreasonable verdict met. No evidence on the record as to how accused obtained the vehicle. “The trial judge, in finding the appellant’s possession to have been recent relative to the fraudulent acquisition, drew a number of inferences from facts not in the evidence…[he] erred by stepping outside the framework of the agreed statement of facts and taking what appears to have been improper judicial notice of the habits of vehicle owners and renters”. Wakeling JA dissented.

Marchen – Defence Counsel