The B.C. Appeal Court has dismissed former Pitt Meadows councillor David Murray’s appeal of his sexual assault conviction handed down in October 2017.
A three-justice panel ruled that the original trial judge did not err in her approach to assessing Murray’s credibility, nor did she misunderstand the evidence at the trial.
David Alan Murray was found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage girl, in 1992, in a decision by Judge Deirdre Pothecary in Port Coquitlam provincial court in 2017. He received a nine-month sentence.
Last October, Murray’s lawyer, David Ferguson, argued that Pothecary improperly devalued defence evidence and asked for a new trial. The lawyer said the judge shifted the burden of proof in the case, and held Murray’s evidence to a higher standard than Crown evidence. He also said Crown provided no accurate timeline.
But the Appeal Court panel ruled that the judge did not subject Murray’s evidence to a higher level of scrutiny than which was applied to the complainant. And neither did the judge discredit Murray’s testimony because he relied on disclosure from the Crown, said the court.
The judgment was released Tuesday and also said the Crown did not elicit details of the complainant’s earlier statements to other people about the offence.
As a result, “there is no risk that the judge erred by relying on the supposed consistency with which the complainant related her account over time as a circumstance bolstering her credibility,” said the ruling by Justice Gregory Fitch, supported by Justices Nicole Garson and Patrice Abrioux.
Murray is appealing his sentence as well and is out on bail until a decision is made. Timeline for that appeal is to be announced.
Murray was originally charged in November 2016 with sexual assault and sexual interference of a person under the age of 14.
But Crown counsel asked for the second charge to be stayed, citing an inability to confirm whether the complainant was 13 or 14 at the time of the alleged attack.
Murray remained on Pitt Meadows council and attended regular meetings throughout the investigation and trial. After the conviction in October 2017, he resigned the following January.