The Supreme Court of Canada released its reasons today for upholding first-degree murder convictions against a man and his common-law wife in the death of his young daughter and elucidated on the meaning of “unlawful confinement” in parent-child relationships.
In R. v. Magoon, 2018 SCC 14, a unanimous Supreme Court dismissed the appeals of Spencer Lee Jordan and Marie-Eve Magoon, who were convicted of murder in the November 2011 death of Jordan’s six-year-old daughter, Meika, while she was in the couple’s care in their Calgary home.
Jordan and Magoon were charged with first-degree murder but convicted of second-degree murder at trial, as the trial judge was not satisfied that they had unlawfully confined Meika while inflicting the injuries on her. (Forcible confinement is an element of first-degree murder.) The Crown appealed the acquittal for first-degree murder, while Jordan and Magoon appealed their convictions for second-degree murder. The Court of Appeal of Alberta upgraded the conviction to first-degree murder, finding that the trial judge had applied “an unduly narrow definition of confinement in the case of children.”