What is the test to apply to an explanation for possession given by Phon?

Alberta, Canada


The following excerpt is from R. v. Taing, 1998 ABCA 108 (CanLII):

The learned trial judge correctly instructed himself on the test to be applied to the explanation for possession given by Phon. He said that he was required to determine if the explanation might reasonably be true, even if he did not believe it. Unless the judge determines that an explanation could not reasonably be true, the evidence of recent possession of stolen property cannot be used to infer the guilt of the possessor. Such guilt may only be inferred when there is unexplained recent possession of stolen property. After finding such unexplained recent possession, and upon consideration of all the circumstances, it is open to the trier of fact to infer from that finding alone that the possessor was either a thief or merely a possessor. In instructing himself as thus paraphrased, the learned trial judge followed the decision in Kowlyk v. R. (1988) 1988 CanLII 50 (SCC), 43 C.C.C. (3d) 1 (S.C.C.).

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