B.C.’s court of appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

B.C.’s court of appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

New trial ordered for woman accused of sexually assaulting teen in Surrey

Ruth Marisol Sanhueza, who had been found guilty of sexual assault and sexual interference, has won her appeal in court

A new trial has been ordered for a woman accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in the back seat of her car in Surrey.

After Ruth Marisol Sanhueza was found guilty of sexual assault and sexual interference in Surrey provincial court she successfully appealed her convictions before the Court of Appeal for British Columbia.

“The appellant challenges the convictions on two grounds. First, she says the trial judge erred in her approach to an out-of-court denial made by the appellant when confronted with the allegations. Second, the appellant contends that the judge did not adequately explain why she rejected the denial,” Justice Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten said in her Oct. 13 reasons for judgment.

DeWitt-Van Oosten found the trial judge did not properly assess the accused’s out-of-court denial and ordered a new trial, with Justices Mary Saunders and Elizabeth Bennett concurring.

READ ALSO: Haevischer, Johnston appeal convictions in Surrey Six slayings

READ ALSO: Surrey drug dealer loses appeal in sassafras odour case

READ ALSO: Man convicted by Surrey judge in hatchet attack near SkyTrain station loses appeal bid

There is a publication ban on information that could identify the complainant. The teen testified that during an errand run in 2016 Sanhueza drove him to a forested area near Guildford Town Centre shopping mall, parked her car and the two began talking.

“The appellant asked the complainant to look for something in the back seat. When he could not find it, she joined him there, and the conversation continued,” DeWitt-Van Oosten said in her reasons.

The boy testified that after Sanhueza’s alleged sexual advances, during which, he claimed, she touched his crotch twice over his pants, he was “uncomfortable” and got of the car. He told the court he got back into the car after the accused apologized, and then they left to continue with the errands.

The teen testified that Sanhueza told him not to say anything about the incident. About two weeks later, he told his parents. The court heard the accused claimed it was the boy who sexually harassed her and that she did not want to tell his mom about his alleged behavior because she knew the complainant’s mother “punishes” her children.

Sanhueza did not testify at her trial.

During final submissions, the Crown argued the teen had no motive to lie and was a reliable and, in fact, a reluctant witness.

“The Crown also took the position that the appellant’s statements about the complainant having sexually harassed her were not true,” DeWitt-Van Oosten said.

The defence, on the other hand, argued that the testimony of the complainant and his mother lacked credibility.

Defence counsel argued that the complainant’s version of events was false and that he did have a motive to lie, namely, to make up a story to avoid being punished by his mother for “sexually harassing” the appellant.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

CourtSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

STA members and non-members alike are encouraged to send in photos of their trail adventures. (Photo contributed by Scott Tibballs)
Sparwood Trails Alliance fundraises for Lunch Loop

Trail adventurers are invited to submit photos of their adventures for an STA calendar

BC ELECTION
Voters hit the polls early

17 per cent of Kootenay East voters have already voted, with four days to go until the election

File photo
Main Roads warns of snow over weekend

It’s expected to snow in most areas covered by the East Kootenay Service Area

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Volunteer registered nurse Stephanie Hamilton recieves a swab from a driver as she works at a Covid-19 testing site in the parking lot at Everett Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
13 more COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

There are 624 cases in the region since the start of the pandemic

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Touchstones Museum has opened up Nelson’s Cold War bunker to the public. The unique exhibit includes artifacts from the 1950s and 60s. Photo: Tyler Harper
Take cover! Cold War bunker opens to public in Nelson

The shelter was built in 1964 in case of nuclear fallout

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

Most Read