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Governing Principles

The trial judge’s duty to give reasons applies to both convictions and acquittals: R v Sliwka, 2017 ONCA 426 at para 26


Reasons that may adequately explain why a judge had a reasonable doubt, may be inadequate to explain why a judge was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt.  Similarly, reasons may be adequate if an appeal from those reasons is limited to a question of law, as in the case of Crown appeals from acquittals, but may be inadequate if the appeal extends to questions of fact, as in the case of appeals from convictions: Sliwka at para 27

For a review of the Several basic principles that govern the review of the sufficiency of the reasons delivered at the conclusion of proceedings in which the credibility and reliability of the testimony of the principal witnesses is the focal point, see: R v. AA, 2015 ONCA 558 at paras 116-121


For a review of the several basic principles that govern the  review of the sufficiency of the reasons, the form that these arguments take, the requirements upon the trial judge, and the burden the appellant bears in order to succeed on this basis, see: R v Wolynec, 2015 ONCA 656 at paras 52-60

Where a case turns largely on determinations of credibility, the sufficiency of the reasons should be considered in light of the deference afforded to trial judges on credibility findings. Only rarely will deficiencies in a trial judge’s credibility analysis warrant appellate intervention, although a failure to sufficiently articulate how credibility concerns have been resolved may rise to the level of reversible error: R v JA, 2015 ONCA 754 at para 37


A trial judge is presumed to know the law. If a phrase in a trial judge’s reasons is open to two interpretations, the one consistent with the trial judge’s knowledge of the applicable law must be preferred over the one erroneously applying the law: R v Luceno, 2015 ONCA 759 at para 59


While the failure to consider all of the evidence is an error of law, “unless the reasons demonstrate that this was not done, the failure to record the fact of it having been done is not a proper basis for concluding that there was an error of law in this respect: R v Tippett, 2015 ONCA 697 at para 27

Judicial reasons that amount to the “bottom line” or decision of the trial judge are not reasons that in any way explain that decision or expose it to proper appellate review: Sliwka at para 30

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