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B.C. man's appeal of sexual assault, unlawful confinement conviction rejected

A man's perceptions of sexualized behaviour at a club isn't relevant to a defence to charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement, the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled Jan. 26
B.C.'s Court of Appeal has rejected the case of a man convicted of sexual assault and forcible confinement.

A B.C. man jailed for three years for sexual assault and unlawful confinement has had his conviction appeal rejected.

Renert Ravelo-Corvo appealed the conviction based on the trial judge's refusal to admit evidence of sexual activity that allegedly occurred in the hours before the incident.

Ravelo-Corvo said that refusal affected his right to make full answer and defence to the charges and rendered the trial unfair. He sought a new trial, which the B.C. Court of Appeal rejected on Jan. 26.

"I am unable to accede to the appellant's submission that the trial judge's failure to admit this evidence affected his right to full answer and defence and rendered the trial unfair," said Justice Barbara Fisher, who wrote the ruling for the three-judge hearing panel.

Her decision said the offences occurred at Ravelo-Corvo’s apartment in the early hours of May 8, 2016.

Ravelo-Corvo and the complainant happened to meet at a nightclub several hours before the incident occurred. They left the club together and walked to his nearby apartment.

Ravelo-Corvo did not deny a sexual encounter with the complainant at his apartment but sought to challenge the complainant's credibility and advanced a defence of honest but mistaken belief that the complainant had consented.

He alleged they engaged in some sexualized activity while dancing at the club, which partially explained why they left together for his apartment. 

Ravelo-Corvo applied at trial to have evidence of the club activity entered. Still, the Supreme Court of B.C. judge rejected it, calling it flawed as it drew no link between what happened at the club to what happened at the apartment or explained why it was relevant to whether the complainant consented to intercourse.

The trial judge found the complainant credible and found some problems with Ravelo-Corvo's credibility.

Fisher did not accept Ravelo-Corvo's submission that he was deprived of putting forth an explanation as to why he believed the complainant was consenting.

"He was only deprived of an opportunity to explain his perception of the complainant's alleged sexual conduct at the time they began to interact at the club," Fisher said.

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