Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Opinion Digests / Criminal Law / Assault victim reliably identified assailant

Assault victim reliably identified assailant

Appellant’s assault and battery conviction is affirmed because the victim reliably identified her as the assailant.


Christie, the assault victim, was using a vending machine in a bus station’s lobby when Knight, the appellant, jogged up to him and hit his backside several times with her walking stick as he bent down to get his purchase. A surveillance camera recorded the incident.

Knight was charged with assault. She denied that she attacked Knight. The trial court denied her motion to strike, which was based on the argument that there was insufficient evidence that she assaulted Christie. She appeals on the basis that Christie did not reliably identify her as the assailant.


“Before the incident, Christie was standing only a few feet away from Knight. The room area was well-lit, and Christie was facing Knight’s direction. …

“Although Knight’s clothing partially covered her head, her face was uncovered and clearly visible.

Moreover, the record demonstrates that Knight and the perpetrator, shown in the video, shared the same ‘general physical appearance,’ making the accuracy factor weigh in favor of the Commonwealth. …

“Finally, Christie unequivocally identified Knight as the perpetrator at trial. …

“Although Knight denied being the perpetrator, the trial court was not obligated to accept her testimony. … Moreover, the fact-finder is entitled to reject a defendant’s self-serving testimony and to conclude that ‘[Knight’s] explanations were made falsely in an effort to conceal [her] guilt.’ …

“After balancing the evidence, the trial court rejected Knight’s account and credited Christie’s. We will not disturb that credibility determination on appeal.”


“Alternatively, Knight argues that the evidence failed to prove that she acted with the requisite intent. The Commonwealth contends that Knight failed to preserve the argument on intent, so Rule 5A:18 bars this Court’s consideration of the issue. We agree. …

“[T]he statement of facts in lieu of a transcript, filed by Knight, indicates that the only argument Knight presented to the trial court was that the evidence failed to establish that she was the perpetrator. Without a record showing that Knight also preserved her challenge to intent, Rule 5A:18 bars this Court’s consideration of that argument for the first time on appeal.

“Furthermore, Knight does not raise the good cause or ends of justice exceptions to Rule 5A:18.”


Knight v. Commonwealth, Record No. 0624-21-1, Aug. 2, 2022. CAV (Chaney) From the Circuit Court of the City of Norfolk (Hall) Tiffany T. Crawford for appellant. Robin M. Nagel, Jason S. Miyares for appellee. VLW 022-7-303, 8 pp. Unpublished opinion.

VLW 022-7-303

Virginia Lawyers Weekly