Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – College of Teachers – Teachers – Disciplinary proceedings – Professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming – Judicial review – Standard of review – Reasonableness simpliciter – Evidence – Witnesses
X. v. British Columbia College of Teachers,  B.C.J. No. 2528, British Columbia Supreme Court, December 3, 2004, Cole J.
The British Columbia College of Teachers Hearing Sub-Committee (the “Panel”) found the appellant guilty of professional misconduct in relation to allegations of inappropriate sexual activity with a student. The appellant commenced an appeal pursuant to section 40 of the Teaching Profession Act (the “Act”) from the Panel’s decision. The appeal was only with respect to the Panel’s verdict.
It was agreed by the parties that the standard of review was that of reasonableness simpliciter. The reasonableness standard mandated that the Court determine whether the reasons as a whole could withstand a somewhat probing examination and still support the decision of the Panel. Although section 40 of the Act granted the appellant an appeal on the merits of the decision, the Court held that it ought not substitute its views of the evidence for those of the Panel.
The Court held that the standard of proof requiring clear and cogent evidence was properly identified and applied by the Panel.
The Court further noted that the Panel was entitled to believe the evidence of the student. There was ample evidence supporting the conclusion that the student was truthful with respect to the matters in the citation. The decision of the Panel was supported by reasons that could stand up to a somewhat probing examination, notwithstanding the lack of corroborating evidence for some matters.
With respect to findings of credibility, the Court held that the Panel did not determine credibility by reference to the witness’s demeanour only; it based its assessments of credibility on the consistency or inconsistency of testimony with other evidence.
With respect to the adequacy of the reasons, the Court held that there was no suggestion that there was any piece of evidence that the Panel overlooked. It would be inappropriate for the Court to engage in an exercise of weighing the evidence heard by the Panel and positing its own interpretations and assessments of credibility. The Court held that there was an abundance of evidence before the Panel to support the conclusion that the appellant had engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student. The decision made by the Panel was reasonable in all respects. The appeal was therefore dismissed.
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