Court Appeal & Aggravated Assault

April 28, 2023

R v K, 2020 ABCA 425

Mr. Royer was retained for the conviction appeal of the accused’s aggravated assault conviction. The ground of appeal was that the conviction was unreasonable.

The appeal was of the Appellant’s alleged assault upon a fellow inmate. The case was largely circumstantial.

Nature of Application? Unreasonable Verdict Appeal.

Did the trial judge commit an error of law in determining there were reasonable grounds to convict?

“Where the Crown’s case turns on circumstantial evidence, as here, the question becomes whether the trier of fact could reasonably be satisfied that guilt was the only reasonable conclusion available on all of the evidence. This inquiry will necessarily involve a limited re-examination and re-weighing of the evidence in light of the criminal standard of proof.”

“An accused is not required to provide exculpatory explanations for their movements in order to secure an acquittal. Rather, the burden always rests with the Crown to prove guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt. “A gap in the evidence, or an absence of evidence, may support a reasonable inference other than guilt”; an accused is not required to provide explanations other than guilt, as this wrongly puts an obligation on an accused to prove facts, and “is contrary to the rule that whether there is a reasonable doubt is assessed by


Mr. Royer argued that the original analysis of the circumstantial evidence was in error, and that his client was subject to an unreasonable verdict.

The Court of Appeal agreed. “The evidence relied upon for conviction, raised reasonable possibilities inconsistent with the appellant’s guilt. Having conducted a limited review of the evidence, we cannot find that the Crown met its ultimate burden of establishing the appellant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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