R v Braithwaite 2020 ONCA 513 Summary

Facts

The appellant, Mr. Braithwaite, was convicted of criminal harassment, voyeurism for a sexual purpose, and two counts of break and enter. The conviction occurred as a result of Mr. Braithwaite’s conduct towards his ex-partner, the complainant, after their breakup. His behaviour included an unreasonable amount of text messages, hacking into her accounts, breaking into her home, contacting her child’s principal, and installing a secret camera to observe her. When he was arrested, during a lawful search of his phone, the police found photos of his ex-partner’s credit cards, nude photos taken by a ring camera that was put in her bedroom, and a notification that the complainant’s location was being shared with the appellant. Further there were notes about his feelings towards the complainant post break-up. He was sentenced to 12 months’ in custody.

Mr. Braithwaite appeals the conviction.

Issues

The appeal focused on three issues:

1. Whether the trial judge erred in finding that the appellant had hostility towards his ex-partner? Does the hostility support the finding that the appellant was the person who committed acts of criminal harassment?


2. In order to satisfy criminal harassment, the judge must make a finding that the complainant was fearful of the appellant. Did the judge fail to do so?

3. Did the trial judge make a mistake convicting the appellant on circumstantial evidence when the evidence could have been interpreted in another way?

Holding

The appeal was dismissed on all three grounds.

Reasoning

Issue 1

The ONCA determined that in the notes the police found on the appellant’s phone, there was sufficient evidence of Mr. Braithwaite’s hostility towards his ex-partner to find that he was the one who committed criminal harassment.

Issue 2

The ONCA found that the trial judge did not have to make a finding that the complainant was initially fearful. It is evident through the words in her testimony that she became fearful after she found the ring camera.

Issue 3

Lastly, the ONCA found that the circumstantial evidence was overwhelming and there was no reasonable doubt about Mr. Braithwaite’s guilt.

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