THE COURT is the online resource for debate & data about the Supreme Court of Canada.*

Archive For Entries On Criminal Procedure

A New Standard for “Mr. Big” Confessions: R v Hart  

R v Hart, 2014 SCC 52 [Hart], is about the admissibility of confessions elicited during “Mr. Big” operations, a relatively common sting tactic used by police across the country. The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) found that confessions given during such operations are often unreliable and introduced a stringent new test for their admissibility as […]

Supreme Court Sets High Bar for Prosecutorial Abuse of Process in R v Babos

In R v Babos, 2014 SCC 16 [Babos], the issue was whether the Crown misconduct, in the form of intimidation and threats, was severe enough to warrant a stay of proceedings for the accused. A 6-1 majority of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has held that prosecutorial misconduct or abuse of process must be […]

Constructive Murder Committed on 18th Birthday: Conviction Upheld and Law Clarified in R v White

In a particularly lengthy decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal (ONCA) dismissed the appeal of a conviction for first degree murder in R v White, 2014 ONCA 64. The appellant and two co-accused were convicted in 2009 for the tragic 2007 stabbing death of Brampton youth, Akila Badhanage. On appeal, the appellant White raised three […]

R v Vu: The SCC Rules that Computers Require Distinctive Treatment under Section 8 of the Charter

In a landmark decision regarding section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that specific prior authorization is needed to search individuals’ computers and similar devices. Facts and Judicial History Following suspicions that the appellant Thanh Long Vu was stealing electricity, Constable Carter of the RCMP […]

Sentencing Firearms Convictions Without Mandatory Minimums: R v Smickle

In 2012 Justice Anne Molloy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that the law mandating three-year mandatory minimum sentences for possession of a loaded, prohibited firearm was unconstitutional. Instead, the respondent, who had been convicted of possession of a loaded, prohibited firearm contrary to section 95 of the Criminal Code, was given a […]

With Divided Medical Evidence in NCR Case, ONCA is Deferent to Jury: R v Downs

The not criminally responsible (NCR) regime is currently the subject of media and public scrutiny, with the proposed reforms of Bill C-14 (formerly C-54; Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act) in the Senate. In the recent decision of R v Downs, 2014 ONCA 20 [Downs], the Ontario Court of Appeal (ONCA) reviewed a case in which an […]

Self-Induced Provocation Is No Defence to Murder: SCC in R v Cairney, R v Pappas

In the wake of two recent Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decisions, the partial defence of provocation has been narrowed. The SCC grappled with the legal interpretation of particularly ‘sympathetic’ moral circumstances underlying murder charges on appeal in R v Cairney, 2013 SCC 55 (Cairney), and R v Pappas, 2013 SCC 56 (Pappas). While the […]

Pre-Sentence Custody: ONCA Wades in the Murky Waters of Enhanced Credit

In R v Summers, 2013 ONCA 147 and subsequently R v Curry, 2013 ONCA 420, the Ontario Court of Appeal tackled the issue of exactly what circumstances allow for enhanced credit to be given for pre-sentence custody upon a finding of guilt. Following legislative changes in early 2010, the standard of giving 2:1 credit evaporated […]

Race, Gender, and Religion in the Courtroom: Three Critical Implications of R v NS – Part I

At first glance, R v NS, 2012 SCC 72 [NS], appears to be a case about the limits of religious accommodation in Canadian courtrooms. While this issue is a significant concern, what is equally important about this case is the insight it provides into the Court’s ability to adequately address issues of equity, inclusion, and […]

Disclosing the Truth of Jury Selection in R v Davey

Trial by jury is a fundamental aspect of the criminal justice system and a protected right under section 11(f) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for crimes carrying a maximum punishment of five years or more. In a jury trial, the jury acts as the finder of fact and is required to weigh […]