An Ontario Superior Court judge has ordered a mistrial over a Crown prosecutor’s “highly improper” opening address that alluded to animal-like behaviour and pre-emptively addressed the arguments the defendant would be making in testifying on his own behalf.
“Although the Crown is entitled to act as a strong advocate within the adversarial process, it cannot adopt a purely adversarial role towards the defence,” wrote Superior Court Justice Robert Reid in setting out the issues in considering the defence’s mistrial application in the murder case of R. v. Suarez-Noa on Friday.
In this case, Haiden Suarez-Noa had conceded he had stabbed his wife with a knife, according to Reid. But in open court and with the jury absent, defence counsel suggested he expected to raise a defence of provocation, Reid noted. Following the opening address and reading of an agreed statement of facts, however, the defence brought an application for a mistrial.