This week at the SCC

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear four appeals this week, all of them of criminal law decisions.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear four appeals this week, all of them of criminal law decisions.

Feb. 12 – Manitoba – R. v. C.J.

Criminal law: C.J., a 17-year-old boy, was convicted of one count of sexual interference and one count of invitation to sexual touching. The complainant, a six-year-old girl, alleged that C.J. had invited her to touch him inappropriately and had inappropriately touched her while they were at the park. C.J. appealed his conviction on the basis that the trial judge had misapprehended the evidence. A majority of the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. In its view, the trial judge had made significant errors in assessing C.J.’s credibility. 

Read the appellate court decision here.

Feb. 13 – Quebec – 
Blanchard v. R.

Criminal law: The appellant, Kathleen Blanchard, was acquitted of refusing to comply with a demand to provide a breath sample (s. 254(5) of the Criminal Code). The trial judge accepted her defence of non-mental disorder automatism resulting from her advanced state of self-induced intoxication. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and convicted the appellant. Doyon J.A. would have dismissed the appeal, as in his view, the defence of extreme intoxication was available for all types of offences unless it was excluded by law. In the instant case, s. 33.1 of the Criminal Code did not apply to the offence of refusing to provide a breath sample, so the defence was available.

Read the appellate court decision here.

Related news stories:
Coupable après avoir refusé de passer l’alcootest; TVA Nouvelles
Une notaire se défendait d’être trop saoule pour passer l’ivressomètre; Vingt 55

Feb. 14 – Alberta– Demedeiros v. R.

Criminal law: Nelson Silva Demedeiros appealed his convictions for sexual assault with a weapon and unlawful confinement. He did not testify at trial, and the Crown’s case was largely dependent on the credibility and reliability of the complainant who was severely intoxicated through most of the events. It is alleged that when asked to leave the complainant’s apartment following several sexual acts, Demedeiros refused. He did not allow the complainant to leave her apartment, threatened her with knives, put a knife to her throat and kissed her forcefully, pushed her on to the sofa and stabbed it and the wall with a knife. The complainant then jumped from her balcony. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. 

Read the appellate court decision here.

Feb. 15 – Ontario – George-Nurse v. R.

Criminal law: Devante George-Nurse was convicted of one count of intentionally discharging a firearm while reckless as to the life or safety of another person and one count of occupying a motor vehicle while knowing there was a firearm in the vehicle. The Crown alleged that he counselled the driver of the SUV he was in to shoot at or near a particular person as retaliation for damage that had been done to his mother’s car. George-Nurse argued that the circumstantial evidence was consistent with a number of possibilities other than his having counselled the driver to shoot. On appeal, he argued the verdicts were unreasonable. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. 

Read the appellate court decision here.

Related legal bulletin:
R. v. George-Nurse, 2018 ONCA 515 - Summary; CanLII Connects

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