Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Man convicted of assault, unlawfully confining woman pregnant with his child loses court appeal

Victim tells court he drove her to Guildford parking lot after he’d ‘grabbed’ her neck and she fainted

A man convicted of assaulting and unlawfully confining a woman who was pregnant with his child has lost his appeal in court.

“The charges arose from the complainant’s allegations that the appellant assaulted her and forced her into his car, verbally abusing and threatening her,” Justice Anne MacKenzie noted.

On appeal, held via videoconference, Larry Daniel Clayton’s lawyer argued that the trial judge who convicted his client had erred by refusing to direct the victim to answer under cross-examination if she’d had an abortion, and if so, when. The Crown had disclosed that she did, and the date, which was admitted for the record.

“The judge said he was fully aware the complainant was pregnant when the assault and unlawful confinement allegations arose and that the appellant would be upset if she were not going to have the baby. In light of the circumstances, including the Crown’s ‘admission,’ the matter was not in issue. Accordingly, the judge did not ‘see any point in putting the witness through it,’” MacKenzie noted in her Jan. 21 reasons for judgment.

“The sole ground of appeal is whether the appellant’s trial was unfair because the judge declined to order the complainant to answer counsel’s proposed questions” MacKenzie noted. “In my opinion, the judge properly exercised his discretion not to order the complainant to respond to the questions. I would therefore dismiss the appeal.”

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Justices Richard Goepel and Patrice Abrioux concurred. The court heard Clayton and the victim’s conflict centred on her pregnancy with his child, about which she didn’t want to speak with him.

The court heard he wanted her to have the baby.

The incident before the court took place in February 2015, after the victim unexpectedly ran into Clayton at a nightclub in New Westminster. He wanted to talk to her, but she declined, and she also declined his offer to drive her home and instead caught a taxi ride home with a friend.

As she walked out to her home, the court heard, Clayton got out of his car and again told her he wanted to talk with her, and again she refused.

She testified he “lost it” after she told him she shared the cab ride with another man. She told the court she fainted after Clayton grabbed her neck, and he put her in his car, told her not to try getting out, and then drove her to a parking lot in Guildford, yelling at her along the way

She testified she “zoned out” and woke up with her head on his lap in the parking lot, and he told her “If you try anything…I’m going to do it again.” He eventually drove her home.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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BC Supreme CourtSurrey