R. v. BAA, [Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Calgary – February 2021]

BAA, a middle-aged rancher, found himself involved in a multimillion-dollar domestic proceeding with his estranged common-law spouse of many years. On the date of their final separation, she called the police and accused BAA of abusing her over an extended period of time. After providing the police with a detailed statement, the police charged BAA with a number of offences including aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, mischief to property, and uttering threats to cause death and/or bodily harm. BAA retained Patrick Fagan to defend this most serious criminal prosecution. 

The Complainant was a professional witness who had testified in criminal proceedings on at least 50 prior occasions. She was very well versed in the legal and tactical dynamics associated with direct examination and cross-examination and (to put it lightly) posed a  significant challenge for the Defence. In all the circumstances, Patrick  Fagan chose a trial by way of Judge and Jury.  

Prior to commencement of trial, Patrick Fagan came into possession of damning evidence in relation to the Complainant’s credibility. In the interest of a potential amicable resolution, Patrick Fagan brought the existence of this damning information to the attention of the assigned  Crown Prosecutor and the Complainant. Rather surprisingly, the Crown and the Complainant failed to appreciate the relevance of the damning information and insisted that the matter proceed to trial… so be it. 

A full-blown 6 day Judge and Jury trial was conducted during which the  Complainant, as anticipated, related to the Jury in persuasive,  compelling, and highly emotional terms, her alleged history of abuse at the hands of BAA.  

In cross-examination of the Complainant by Patrick Fagan, however,  the case for the prosecution fell apart. At the end of cross-examination, it is indeed unlikely that any member of the Jury believed a word spoken by the Complainant.  

BOTTOM LINE: The Jury returned with verdicts of NOT guilty on all charges.