March: Recent SCC Decisions

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Criminal Law: Charter “Testimony”

Cameron v. R., 2020 ABCA 276 (39444)
The Applicant, Mr. Cameron, was the President, Secretary, and sole director of VTI, an Alberta company which he incorporated in 2002. In 2005, the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) determined VTI violated securities law by distributing securities to British Columbia residents without complying with relevant registration and prospectus requirements. The B.C.S.C. also determined VTI’s password protected website gave false information about the monthly return of its preferred shares to investors, and the Applicant was responsible for VTI’s illegal distribution and its misrepresentation to shareholders. The B.C.S.C. and the Applicant entered into a Settlement Agreement in April 2005. The Applicant was convicted of fraud and tax evasion. The B.C.C.A. dismissed the Applicant’s appeal. The B.C.C.A. held the protection of s. 13 of the Charter applied only to sworn testimony provided in an earlier proceeding. “The motion for an extension of time to serve and file the application for leave to appeal is granted. The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed.”


Criminal Law: Driving Offences

R. v. Stewart, 2020 SKCA 116 (39462)
There was a single vehicle accident which resulted in the death of Ms. Busse and Mr. Powell, and bodily harm to Mr. McCarthy. Mr. Stewart does not dispute he was driving the vehicle when they left a bar; however, Mr. Stewart testified prior to the accident, he pulled the vehicle over to the side of the highway and switched places with Mr. McCarthy. Mr. Stewart denied his driving caused the death or bodily harm of the other occupants. The identity of the driver of the vehicle was the sole issue at trial. Mr. Stewart was convicted of dangerous driving, impaired driving and driving over the legal limit causing the death of two people and causing bodily harm to a third. The C.A. found the verdict was unreasonable within the meaning of s. 686(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code. The C.A. allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. “The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed.”


Criminal Law: Fraud

R.E. v. R., 2020 ONCA 649 (39508)
There is a publication ban in this case, in the context of commercial fraud and fraud-related offences. “The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed.”


Criminal Law: Harassment; Mistrial Applications

Sidhu v. R., 2020 ABCA 377 (39490)
The Applicant was convicted of criminal harassment. The Applicant brought an application for a stay of his sentencing hearing pending determination of his conviction appeal and for a stay of the trial judge giving reasons for denying the mistrial application. The C.A. dismissed the application on the ground the justice had no jurisdiction to grant the relief sought by the Applicant. “The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed.”


Criminal Law: Jury Member Conduct

Smith v. R., 2020 QCCA 1210 (39443)
A few days after the commencement of a trial for two attempts to commit murder using firearms and two first degree murders (ss. 239(1)(a.1) and 235 Criminal Code), for which the Applicant, Mr. Smith, was one of the accused, a juror sent the trial judge a note in which he suggested she reiterate to the jurors they were not to consult extrinsic information and remind them of the importance of beginning their deliberations only after having heard all the evidence. The note concerned the conduct of one of the jurors who had, during the trial, been conducting Internet searches about the accused on his portable telephone. After reading the note, the trial judge gave an instruction to the jury. A few days later, she reminded the jurors of the oath they had sworn at the start of the trial to consider all the evidence, reach a verdict based solely on that evidence and protect the secrecy of their deliberations. The next day, she ordered the jurors’ portable telephones be confiscated on hearing days. In the Québec Superior Court, the jury reached verdicts Mr. Smith and the other two accused were guilty of two attempts to commit murder using firearms and two first degree murders. The accused appealed the guilty verdicts; the Québec C.A. dismissed their appeal. “The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed.”


Criminal Law: Jury Process

Lewis v. R., 2017 ONCA 216 (39356)
There is a publication ban in this case, a sealing order, and the court file contains information not available for inspection by the public, in the context of jury process. “The motion for an extension of time to serve and file the application for leave to appeal…is dismissed.”


Criminal Law: Search & Seizure

Wolfson v. R., 2020 QCCA 856 (39352)
Between September 29, 2012 and October 28, 2012, the Applicant, Mr. Wolfson, allegedly shot at five people in four separate incidents. Two people were killed and the other three survived. While in a Montréal bar on November 3, 2012, the Applicant was questioned by police officers. He was suspected of acting as a “watchman” for three individuals the police had arrested after discovering a firearm in the possession of one of them. The Applicant was detained and subjected to a pat-down search that led to the discovery of a firearm. He was arrested. The officers then obtained various search warrants that enabled them to seize, among other things, firearms that had been used in the above‑mentioned incidents. The Applicant was charged with murder, attempted murder and possession of a restricted firearm. Before his trial, the Applicant filed a motion to exclude evidence in the Québec Superior Court. He alleged his right not to be arbitrarily detained and his right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure had been infringed. He sought the exclusion of all evidence obtained in the police operation of November 3, 2012. The trial judge dismissed the motion in a voir dire. After a jury trial, the Applicant was found guilty on two counts of attempted murder, one of first degree murder and one of possession of a restricted firearm. The Applicant appealed against the four guilty verdicts, arguing the trial judge had erred in dismissing his motion to exclude the evidence. The C.A. held the trial judge had made no palpable and overriding error in assessing the facts related to the incidents of November 3, 2012 and no error of law in declining to exclude the physical evidence discovered in the pat‑down search. In the C.A.’s view, the trial judge had properly concluded the rights guaranteed in ss. 8 and 9 of the Charter had not been infringed, and it was therefore not necessary to review the principles applicable to applications for the exclusion of evidence under s. 24(2). “The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed.”


Criminal Law: Sentencing

Garrell v. R., 2020 ONCA 127 (39489)
Three witnesses implicated the Applicant in a home-invasion robbery, in which the homeowner was shot. A Crown witness, G., pled guilty to participating in the robbery and gave evidence of the Applicant’s role in agreed facts at his plea. At the Applicant’s trial, G. gave a more exculpatory version, although the facts he pled to were admitted for their truth. After a trial by judge and jury, the Applicant was convicted of armed robbery. The Applicant was sentenced to 8.5 years’ imprisonment. The C.A. dismissed the conviction appeal. The sentence appeal was granted only to the extent of crediting 90 days pre‑sentence custody, reducing the Applicant’s custodial term by 90 days. “The motion to appoint counsel is dismissed. The motion for an extension of time to serve and file the application for leave to appeal is granted. The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed.”


Criminal Law: Sexual Offences

E.D. v. R., 2020 ONCA 633 (39454)
There is a publication ban in this case, and a publication ban on the party, in the context of sexual offences. “The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed.”

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