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This week at the SCC

This week, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear two appeals. One is a Charter challenge of a “suspicious vehicle” police stop. The other involves a murder and forcible confinement, where the separateness of the offences is in question.

Feb. 23 – Quebec – Gagnon v. R.

Charter of Rights: The appellant was convicted of operating a vehicle contrary to a prohibition order. He was arrested after police in the area were instructed to look out for a suspicious vehicle. A police officer spotted the appellant’s vehicle, which matched the description, as he parked his car in a driveway that was not his own. The appellant then admitted to the police officer that he did not live in the home and did not have a driver’s licence. At trial, Gagnon argued that the arrest had been arbitrary. The argument was dismissed on appeal, with dissent.

Read the Quebec appeal court decision

Feb. 25 – British Columbia – R. v. Newman

Criminal law: The respondent, Michael Bruce Newman, was convicted of first-degree murder for an incident in which he went to the apartment of the victim, who was selling an engagement ring on social media, stabbed him repeatedly and then shot him in the head. The first-degree murder conviction relied upon the fact that Newman killed the victim while forcibly confining him. On appeal, the court agreed that the confinement was not a separate offence and substituted the conviction for one of second-degree murder. One judge offered dissent.

Read the British Columbia Court of Appeal decision

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