Author: Kim Arnott / John Schofield
Source: The Lawyers Weekly
Article Date: October 9, 2015, issue of The Lawyers Weekly Digital Edition
Alberta’s highest court has ruled it was inconsistent of a jury to convict a man of sexual touching of a person under 16 years old after acquitting him of sexual assault.
In a split decision in R. v. Seufert  A.J. No. 971, the Court of Appeal for Alberta set aside the conviction and entered an acquittal on the charge of sexual touching. In allowing the appeal, the majority decision by Justices Peter Martin and Barbara Veldhuis noted that the Crown conceded the verdict on the sexual touching charge was “inconsistent with and not logically severable” from the sexual assault charge.
“In the context of this case, if you’re going to find him guilty of the sexual interference, you’re going to find him guilty of the sexual assault and vice versa. You can’t say he’s guilty of one and not the other,” summarized Dino Bottos, an Edmonton lawyer who teaches criminal law at the University of Alberta.