R v Griffin, 2018 Alberta Court Of Appeal – “Read Holistically” Conviction Verdict Did Not Show W(D) Error


Appeal by accused from conviction for sexual assault of his step-children. At trial, the accused testified and denied that the incidents occurred. Issue on appeal of whether the trial judge erred in his assessment of the accused’s and complainant’s evidence, and his application of the W(D) analysis.

Held: Appeal dismissed.

“After carefully considering the appellant’s arguments, the panel concludes they invite the court to fall into the trap identified in R v Gagnon, 2006 SCC 17… that of ignoring the trial judge’s unique position to see and hear witnesses, and instead substituting its own assessment of credibility for the trial judge’s view by impugning the reasons for judgment for not explaining why a reasonable doubt was not raised”. The trial judge’s reasons demonstrated that he considered and rejected a motive to fabricate. Read holistically, the reasons did not show an error in the application of the W(D) test.

M. Duckett – Defence Counsel