Judge Finds Alleged Assault Victim Unreliable After She Calls Lawyer ‘Beautiful'

#1
It was a case of domestic assault: A Vancouver woman had accused her Toronto ex-boyfriend of bruising her arm, confining her in a hotel room and stealing her cell phone.

And then, seemingly out of the blue, while on the witness stand Dzenita Omerovic commented on the attractiveness of the lawyer cross-examining her.
“May I just say something?” said the woman to Toronto criminal defence lawyer Ines Gavran.

“Ok,” said Gavran, to which Omerovic replied, “You are beautiful.”
It may have seemed like an innocuous compliment — particularly given that Gavran happens to have been the 2013 Miss Canada.

But according to an Ontario Court of Justice judge it was evidence that Omerovic’s testimony could not be trusted.

“The record before me shows the complainant to be obsessive, occasionally vindictive, and insecure,” wrote Justice Joseph De Filippis in a late August decision that dismissed almost all charges against the defendant.

With regards to the complainant being “insecure,” the judge wrote that “her observations about Defence counsel’s physical appearance are instructive.”
Full story: http://nationalpost.com/news/canada...nreliable-because-she-called-lawyer-beautiful

Call me unreliable if pretty.
 
#2
I mean, get her a psych eval if you think there's something there. Otherwise I don't think you have the qualifications to dismiss someone for just saying that.

Though, what a weird thing to just stop proceedings to declare.
 
#9
What a strange thing to say while on the witness stand.
Judge's behaviour is more strange:
”Wow, that's quite a judgement," said Alice Woolley, a University of Calgary law professor and president of the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics.

Woolley called the decision ”empirically pretty suspect" for relying on a single exchange to diagnose a witness' psychological character. The judge, in effect, was using a fleeting courtroom interaction to say that the witness is ”not a good person," Woolley said.

”You generally do not draw legal conclusion based on the kind of person someone is, you draw it based on the evidence,” she said.

This opinion was shared by Toronto criminal lawyer David Butt, who specializes in sexual assault cases.

He noted that the witness would have been under enormous amounts of stress, and could have made the comment for any number of reasons aside from insecurity.


”This judge has certainly stepped outside, in my view, the parameters of appropriate characterization of a witness," he said, adding that the judgement would have been perfectly sound without the observation.
And the ex-boyfriend is a turd:
Ultimately, however, the judge ruled that a physical confrontation of some kind had likely taken place, but he could not convict because prosecutors had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the encounters had played out as Omerovic described.

Guesly Gemelus was still found guilty of two counts of breaching bail conditions that had forbidden him from making contact with Omerovic.
 
#18
Seems like the lawyers are trying to find some reason to appeal. I suspect the Judge formed their opinion on more than that one incident. That was just something in the notes so they are trying to use it.

That is the lawyer.
 
#20
Judge?

Did you read your own article?
Did you? Because the comment was made by Dzenita Omerovic to the defense lawyer Inis Gavren who was performing a cross-examination on the witness (Omerovic), not the lawyer:

And then, seemingly out of the blue, while on the witness stand Dzenita Omerovic commented on the attractiveness of the lawyer cross-examining her.
EDIT: Misread your post and mixed up "lawyer" with "judge" in my prior one. My bad.
 
#21
Originally Posted by Moppeh

Judge?

Did you read your own article?
Did you? Because the comment was made by Dzenita Omerovic to the defense lawyer Inis Gavren who was performing a cross-examination on the witness (Omerovic), not the lawyer:

And then, seemingly out of the blue, while on the witness stand Dzenita Omerovic commented on the attractiveness of the lawyer cross-examining her.
I don't think you know what judge means.
 
#22
It is a bit of a stretch, but it's within the province of a Judge to make credibility determinations. It would be better to rephrase it as saying: "Her lack of focus on the stand and attempt to change the subject, suggests she lacks confidence in her testimony and is not telling the truth."

Generally, when people get dodgy on the stand, it's taken as an indication they may be lying. In this case, her comment was nice, but it's still avoiding the subject...
 
#23
Sounds like Justice Joseph De Filippis was trying to find any reason to dismiss this woman's case by judging her entire character based on one compliment she gave to a lawyer.

Omerovic: "You are beautiful."

Joseph De Filippis: "The record before me shows the complainant to be obsessive, occasionally vindictive, and insecure...her observations about Defence counsel's physical appearance are instructive."

Like this reaction to just one comment is ridiculous.
 

Kinitari

Black Canada Mafia
#24
I'd like to imagine it was more than just this one comment, but maybe it wasn't. If it was just this one comment, then I hope they get that appeal. But now I'm wondering what sort of behaviour would make a judge think someone's testimony was no good
 
#26
Sounds like Justice Joseph De Filippis was trying to find any reason to dismiss this woman's case by judging her entire character based on one compliment she gave to a lawyer.
The judge absolutely did not have to be looking for a reason to discredit the witness.

The victim halted proceedings to give that compliment. That's called deflection.
 

Kinitari

Black Canada Mafia
#28
I don't think it's based on just this one comment, it's hard to tell from the article, but this:

"The record before me shows the complainant to be obsessive, occasionally vindictive, and insecure,” wrote Justice Joseph De Filippis in a late August decision that dismissed almost all charges against the defendant.

With regards to the complainant being “insecure,” the judge wrote that “her observations about Defence counsel’s physical appearance are instructive.”
Makes it sound like the judge is saying that her behaviour on the stand is additional evidence of her insecurity.

Am I off?
 
#29
Uh... I mean that's weird as fuck to say on the damn witness stand, but to also base her whole character and credibility on that one comment is dumb too.
The article doesn't actually state or suggest that the judge formed an opinion on the witness's whole character and credibility from that one comment.
 
#31
It is a bit of a stretch, but it's within the province of a Judge to make credibility determinations. It would be better to rephrase it as saying: "Her lack of focus on the stand and attempt to change the subject, suggests she lacks confidence in her testimony and is not telling the truth."

Generally, when people get dodgy on the stand, it's taken as an indication they may be lying. In this case, her comment was nice, but it's still avoiding the subject...
Avoiding what subject, thought? I'm skimming the article but I don't see where in the cross-examination this comment was placed. It's a weird comment to make during the trial for sure, but there would be a difference to me if she said this at the end of the cross-examination or if this was the first thing out of her mouth after a question where the answer wouldn't make her look good.

The insecure comment just seems like a mean dig from the judge. Are unusual (either in content or timing) compliments to strangers a sign of insecurity in general?
 
#32
Avoiding what subject, thought? I'm skimming the article but I don't see where in the cross-examination this comment was placed. It's a weird comment to make during the trial for sure, but there would be a difference to me if she said this at the end of the cross-examination or if this was the first thing out of her mouth after a question where the answer wouldn't make her look good.

The insecure comment just seems like a mean dig from the judge. Are unusual (either in content or timing) compliments to strangers a sign of insecurity in general?
The comment is definitely irrelevant to the incident she was there to testify about, so it would have been an avoidance of any question that was posed to her at the time, although I see your point. If she said it at the end, it wouldn't have suggested she was trying to avoid an answer, but it still would have been inappropriate. Maybe I'm too cynical, but a compliment out of nowhere to opposing Counsel seems like a deliberate attempt to appear "nice" and sway the fact finder. Either that, or the witness isn't taking the matter seriously and would rather comment on frivolous things.

It sounds like the Judge interpreted it, not as an attempt at manipulation or frivolity, but as an indication she was so obsessed with the appearance of Counsel she legitimately could not restrain herself from commenting?
 
#33
The comment is definitely irrelevant to the incident she was there to testify about, so it would have been an avoidance of any question that was posed to her at the time, although I see your point. If she said it at the end, it wouldn't have suggested she was trying to avoid an answer, but it still would have been inappropriate. Maybe I'm too cynical, but a compliment out of nowhere to opposing Counsel seems like a deliberate attempt to appear "nice" and sway the fact finder. Either that, or the witness isn't taking the matter seriously and would rather comment on frivolous things.

It sounds like the Judge interpreted it, not as an attempt at manipulation or frivolity, but as an indication she was so obsessed with the appearance of Counsel she legitimately could not restrain herself from commenting?
Ah, that makes it clearer, I can see how there are multiple ways it reflects poorly on her.