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.
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?
The appeal was dismissed on all three grounds.
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.
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.
Lastly, the ONCA found that the circumstantial evidence was overwhelming and there was no reasonable doubt about Mr. Braithwaite’s guilt.