Appeals by the Crown: Grounds

AuthorSteve Coughlan/Alex Gorlewski
320 Post-trial Matters / Appeals
4.1(a) Appeals by the Crown: Grounds
Was there an
error of law?1
Did the error, in
the concrete reality
of the case, have a
material bearing on
the acquittal?2
Dismiss the appealAllow the appeal
This chart deals specically with appeals from an acquittal on an indictable of-
fence under the Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 686(4) [Code], and leads into
Chart 4.1(b), Appeals by the Crown: Possible Outcomes. The right of the Crown
to appeal an acquittal is found in s 676, and includes the ability to appeal an
acquittal or nding that the accused is not criminally responsible (s 676(1)(a));
orders quashing proceedings, entering a stay, or otherwise failing to proceed
(ss 676(1)(b) & (c)); and a nding that the accused was unt to stand trial (s
676(3)). That section also permits the Crown to appeal a sentence (s 676(1)(d)),
or various decisions concerning parole for particular sentences (ss 676(4)–(6)).
This chart, however, is aimed primarily at the question of appealing an acquit-
tal. See Chart 4.1(b) for a discussion of the inconsistency in the meaning of
“acquittal” in ss 676(1)(a) and 686(4). See, generally, the discussion of Crown
appeals in Steve Coughlan, Criminal Procedure, 3d ed (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2016)
at ch 12, s B(2), Appeals by the Crown [Criminal Procedure].
Section 676(1)(a) allows an acquittal (or nding that the accused is not crimi-
nally responsible) to be appealed only on “a question of law alone” (s 676(3)
sets this same limit on appeals of a tness to stand trial nding). This is more
limited than the rights of appeal available to an accused: see Chart 4.1(c), Ap-
peals by the Accused: Grounds. Most notably, this means that the Crown can-
not appeal on the basis that an acquittal was unreasonable or could not be
supported on the evidence (R v Biniaris, 2000 SCC 15). That is, there is no such

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