This week at the SCC

The Supreme Court of Canada starts its fall session today. Here are the scheduled appeals for this week:

Oct. 10 — Ontario — Ivana Levkovic v. R.

Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Ivana Levkovic was charged under s. 243  of the Criminal Code with concealing the dead body of a child after she gave birth in her apartment, putting the baby in a garbage bag, and leaving the bag on the balcony. A pathologist wasn’t able to determine the cause of death or if the baby died before, during, or after birth. The court is being asked to clarify whether the words “child died before . . . birth” are vague and therefore violate s. 7 of the Charter.

Oct. 11 — Saskatchewan — R. v. A.D.H.

Criminal law: A.D.H. was charged with unlawfully abandoning a child so that the child’s life was likely to be endangered contrary to s. 218 of the Criminal Code after she gave birth in a washroom at a Wal-Mart store. She didn’t know she was pregnant and didn’t think the baby was alive when she left it in the toilet. Store management called 911 and the baby was resuscitated. The trial judge found it was a precipitous birth, that A.D.H. didn’t know she was pregnant, and the baby was born at least a month premature. She was acquitted and the appeal was dismissed. At issue is whether the mens rea for an offence under s. 218 is subjective or if it should be assessed by applying the modified objective standard. There are publication bans in the case.

Oct. 12 — Ontario — J.F. v. R.

Criminal law: J.F.’s girlfriend, identified as T, along with her sister, were convicted of the first-degree murder of their mother. MSN chats between J.F. and T before the murder revealed they discussed the method of killing. The trial judge told the jury J.F. could be liable for conspiracy either as a “full partner” or if he was a party to the conspiracy by aiding or abetting one or both sisters in their plan to murder. J.F. was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. The Court of Appeal upheld his conviction. The central issue in this case is party liability. There are publication bans in the case.

At 9:45 a.m. on Oct. 12, the SCC will also release its ruling in Ewaryst Prokofiew v. R. (Ont.), which looks at the issue of a judge’s address to the jury regarding an accused’s decision not to testify during his trial.

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