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

Requests for proposals for the first stage of a water treatment facility project have been issued by the City of Prince Rupert on Oct. 26. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Water treatment facility project in Prince Rupert enters first phase

Prince Rupert seeks proposals for assessment of water quality supply and treatment options

A Shoppers Drug Mart employee in Prince Rupert has tested positive for COVID-19 the company confirmed on Oct. 26. The last day the employee worked was Oct. 17. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Employee of Prince Rupert Shoppers Drug Mart tests positive for COVID-19

No COVID-19 public exposures alerts issued by Northern Health Authority for Prince Rupert

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

North Coast BC NDP MLA Incumbent is seen with her wife Andrea Wilmot and their son Lua, as well as their dog Duncan. Preliminary results on election night Oct. 24 show Rice is in for a third term. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Jennifer Rice is North Coast MLA for third term

Preliminary election results show NDP Majority government

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Ridge Meadows RCMP (Black Press)
Maple Ridge X-ray tech convicted of sexual assault dating back 30 years

Allen James Brooks is expected to be sentenced in January 2021

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson leaves the stage after announcing he is stepping down as party leader, during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Too rural, not enough diversity, soul searching needed, say BC Liberals

Elections BC says there are about 600,000 mail-in and absentee ballots across the province still to count

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Most Read