Thursday, September 19, 2013

Judges presumed to know and apply the law

R. v. Burns (l994) 89 C.C.C. (3d) l93 at l99 to 200, states the following:

Failure to indicate expressly that all relevant considerations have been taken into account in arriving at a verdict is not a basis for allowing an appeal under s. 686(l)(a).  This accords with the general rule that a trial judge does not err merely because he or she does not give reasons for deciding one way or the other on problematic points ...   The judge is not required to demonstrate that he or she knows the law and has considered all aspects of the evidence.  Nor is the judge required to explain why he or she does not entertain a reasonable doubt as to the accused's guilt.  Failure to do any of these things does not, in itself, permit a court of appeal to set aside the verdict.

This rule makes good sense....  Trial judges are presumed to know the law with which they work day in and day out.  If they state their conclusions in brief compass, and these conclusions are supported by the evidence, the verdict should not be overturned merely  because they fail to discuss collateral aspects of the case.

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