Nelson Silva Demedeiros v. Her Majesty the Queen

(Alberta) (Criminal) (As of Right)

(Publication ban in case)


Criminal law - Unreasonable verdict - Criminal law - Unreasonable verdict - Whether the trial judge erred in law by finding the evidence relied upon was capable of supporting or confirming the complainant’s testimony - Whether the trial judge erred by rendering an unreasonable verdict.


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Nelson Silva Demedeiros, appellant, appealed his convictions for sexual assault with a weapon and unlawful confinement. He did not testify at trial, and the Crown’s case was largely dependent on the credibility and reliability of the complainant who was severely intoxicated through most of the events. It is alleged that when asked to leave the complainant’s apartment following several sexual acts on his part, Mr. Demedeiros refused. He then would not to let the complainant leave her apartment, threatened her with knives, put a knife to her throat and kissed her forcefully, pushed her onto the sofa and stabbed it and the wall with a knife. Fearing for her life, the complainant then jumped from her balcony. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Berger J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal and either ordered a new trial on the basis of the material errors of law he identified in the trial judge’s judgment or substituted acquittals on the basis that the verdict was unreasonable. In his view, all of the complainant’s evidence was disjointed, confusing, and fraught with ambiguity and was not resurrected by independent and material supporting evidence establishing Mr. Demedeiros’ guilt, and as a result, appellate intervention was necessary.