R. v. Delorme (G.A.), (2010) 487 A.R. 141 (CA)

JudgeConrad, Martin and McDonald, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (Northwest Territories)
Case DateJanuary 19, 2010
JurisdictionNorthwest Territories
Citations(2010), 487 A.R. 141 (CA)

R. v. Delorme (G.A.) (2010), 487 A.R. 141 (CA);

      495 W.A.C. 141

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2010] A.R. TBEd. MY.029

Her Majesty the Queen (respondent) v. Gerald Anthony Delorme (appellant)

(A-1-AP2005000035; 2010 NWTCA 2)

Indexed As: R. v. Delorme (G.A.)

Northwest Territories Court of Appeal

Conrad, Martin and McDonald, JJ.A.

April 15, 2010.

Summary:

The accused was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 14 years. He appealed the conviction, arguing that the trial judge committed a number of errors in his final instructions to the jury.

The Northwest Territories Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Criminal Law - Topic 4351.2

Procedure - Charge or directions - Jury or judge alone - Directions regarding the presumption of innocence - The accused appealed his conviction for second degree murder, arguing that the trial judge's charge to the jury undermined the presumption of innocence - In the beginning of his charge, the trial judge instructed the jurors that they had to discharge their duty responsibly and "... it is equally important that those who do commit crimes be strictly but fairly dealt with." - The Northwest Territories Court of Appeal held that the impugned comment did not erode the presumption of innocence but stated that such comments were not helpful and best left unsaid - See paragraphs 6 to 9.

Criminal Law - Topic 4354

Procedure - Charge or directions - Jury or judge alone - Directions regarding pleas or evidence of witnesses, co-accused and accomplices - The accused appealed his conviction for second degree murder, arguing that the trial judge's Vetrovec warning respecting the reliability of the testimony of two Crown witnesses who had participated in the crime was not sufficiently sharp and the trial judge should have instructed the jury that it was "dangerous" to act on the evidence of these two witnesses - The Northwest Territories Court of Appeal held that the trial judge's failure to do so was not fatal - There were no rigid formulae or magical words required to send this message - The language employed by the trial judge clearly conveyed to the jury that the testimony of witnesses who had a motive to lie, as these witnesses might have, and who were disreputable, as they were, required careful consideration and that a safer course was to look for confirming evidence before accepting their testimony - Further, both counsel in their closing submissions to the jury spoke at length about this concern - See paragraphs 19 and 20.

Criminal Law - Topic 4354

Procedure - Charge or directions - Jury or judge alone - Directions regarding pleas or evidence of witnesses, co-accused and accomplices - The accused appealed his conviction for second degree murder, arguing that the trial judge's Vetrovec warning respecting the reliability of the testimony of two Crown witnesses who had participated in the crime was inadvertently undermined by the trial judge's references to the fact that both witnesses had pleaded guilty to lesser charges - The Northwest Territories Court of Appeal rejected the argument - See paragraphs 21 to 25.

Criminal Law - Topic 4354

Procedure - Charge or directions - Jury or judge alone - Directions regarding pleas or evidence of witnesses, co-accused and accomplices - The accused appealed his conviction for second degree murder - The trial judge gave a Vetrovec warning respecting the reliability of the testimony of two Crown witnesses who had participated in the crime - The accused argued that the trial judge erred in telling the jury that they could use the evidence of one unsavoury witness to confirm that of another - The Northwest Territories Court of Appeal rejected the argument - The court did not understand the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Khela to have decided that the testimony of one unsavoury witness could not confirm the testimony of another - Common sense would seem to militate against such a conclusion - The cases suggested this was largely a matter within a trial judge's discretion and dictated by the context of the case - In the context of this case, there was no error in this aspect of the charge - See paragraphs 26 to 30.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Vetrovec; R. v. Gaja, [1982] 1 S.C.R. 811; 41 N.R. 606, refd to. [para. 5].

R. v. Laisa (N.), [1993] N.W.T.R. 199 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1994] 1 S.C.R. viii; 168 N.R. 15, refd to. [para. 8].

R. v. Sauvé (J.) et al. (2004), 182 O.A.C. 58; 182 C.C.C.(3d) 321 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 19].

R. v. Khela (G.S.), [2009] 1 S.C.R. 104; 383 N.R. 279; 265 B.C.A.C. 31; 446 W.A.C. 31; 2009 SCC 4, refd to. [para. 20].

R. v. Winmill (T.E.) (1999), 116 O.A.C. 201; 42 O.R.(3d) 582 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 26].

R. v. Pollock (R.) et al. (2004), 188 O.A.C. 37; 187 C.C.C.(3d) 213 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 26].

R. v. Duguay (R.) (2007), 320 N.B.R.(2d) 104; 825 A.P.R. 104; 2007 NBCA 65, refd to. [para. 26].

R. v. Linklater (R.) (2009), 246 O.A.C. 303; 2009 ONCA 172, refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Best (A.D.) (2006), 248 N.S.R.(2d) 343; 789 A.P.R. 343; 2006 NSCA 116, refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. Illes (M.) (2007), 237 B.C.A.C. 231; 392 W.A.C. 231; 2007 BCCA 125, revd. [2008] 3 S.C.R. 134; 380 N.R. 238; 260 B.C.A.C. 285; 439 W.A.C. 285; 2008 SCC 57, refd to. [para. 28].

Counsel:

L. Stevens, for the appellant;

S. Smallwood, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on January 19, 2010, by Conrad, Martin and McDonald, JJ.A., of the Northwest Territories Court of Appeal. The following memorandum of judgment of the court was filed at Yellowknife, N.W.T., on April 15, 2010.

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4 practice notes
  • R v Hornby, 2018 ABCA 377
    • Canada
    • Court of Appeal (Alberta)
    • November 16, 2018
    ...Spence and by this Court: R v Church, 2017 ABCA 421 at para 14 to 19, [2017] AJ No 1349 (QL); R v Delorme, 2010 NWTCA 2 at paras 26 to 30, 487 AR 141. One limit to cross-supportive use of Vetrovec witnesses’ evidence would be evidence of collusion between the Vetrovec witnesses, but, as not......
  • R. v. Sutherland (M.J.), 2011 ABCA 319
    • Canada
    • Alberta Court of Appeal (Alberta)
    • November 3, 2011
    ...to. [para. 11]. R. v. Linklater (R.) (2009), 246 O.A.C. 303; 2009 ONCA 172, refd to. [para. 15]. R. v. Delorme (G.A.), [2010] 6 W.W.R. 31; 487 A.R. 141; 495 W.A.C. 141; 2010 NWTCA 2, refd to. [para. R. v. D.W., [1991] 1 S.C.R. 742; 122 N.R. 277; 46 O.A.C. 352; 63 C.C.C.(3d) 397, refd to. [p......
  • R v Lawrence, 2020 ABCA 268
    • Canada
    • Alberta Court of Appeal (Alberta)
    • July 17, 2020
    ...one Vetrovec witness can confirm the evidence of another if it is accepted: Lawrence, para 1 (CA); R v Delorme, 2010 NWTCA 2, paras 26-30, 487 AR 141; R v Drabinsky, 2011 ONCA 582, para 140, 107 OR (3d) 595, leave to appeal refused, SCC no 34484 (29 March 2012); R v Magno, 2015 ONCA 111, pa......
  • R v Lawrence, 2020 ABQB 61
    • Canada
    • Alberta Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • January 24, 2020
    ...Spence and by this Court: R v Church, 2017 ABCA 421 at para 14 to 19, [2017] AJ No 1349 (QL); R v Delorme, 2010 NWTCA 2 at paras 26 to 30, 487 AR 141. One limit to cross-supportive use of Vetrovec witnesses’ evidence would be evidence of collusion between the Vetrovec witnesses, but,......
4 cases
  • R v Hornby, 2018 ABCA 377
    • Canada
    • Court of Appeal (Alberta)
    • November 16, 2018
    ...Spence and by this Court: R v Church, 2017 ABCA 421 at para 14 to 19, [2017] AJ No 1349 (QL); R v Delorme, 2010 NWTCA 2 at paras 26 to 30, 487 AR 141. One limit to cross-supportive use of Vetrovec witnesses’ evidence would be evidence of collusion between the Vetrovec witnesses, but, as not......
  • R v Lawrence, 2020 ABCA 268
    • Canada
    • Alberta Court of Appeal (Alberta)
    • July 17, 2020
    ...one Vetrovec witness can confirm the evidence of another if it is accepted: Lawrence, para 1 (CA); R v Delorme, 2010 NWTCA 2, paras 26-30, 487 AR 141; R v Drabinsky, 2011 ONCA 582, para 140, 107 OR (3d) 595, leave to appeal refused, SCC no 34484 (29 March 2012); R v Magno, 2015 ONCA 111, pa......
  • R. v. Sutherland (M.J.), 2011 ABCA 319
    • Canada
    • Alberta Court of Appeal (Alberta)
    • November 3, 2011
    ...to. [para. 11]. R. v. Linklater (R.) (2009), 246 O.A.C. 303; 2009 ONCA 172, refd to. [para. 15]. R. v. Delorme (G.A.), [2010] 6 W.W.R. 31; 487 A.R. 141; 495 W.A.C. 141; 2010 NWTCA 2, refd to. [para. R. v. D.W., [1991] 1 S.C.R. 742; 122 N.R. 277; 46 O.A.C. 352; 63 C.C.C.(3d) 397, refd to. [p......
  • R v Lawrence, 2020 ABQB 61
    • Canada
    • Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • January 24, 2020
    ...Spence and by this Court: R v Church, 2017 ABCA 421 at para 14 to 19, [2017] AJ No 1349 (QL); R v Delorme, 2010 NWTCA 2 at paras 26 to 30, 487 AR 141. One limit to cross-supportive use of Vetrovec witnesses’ evidence would be evidence of collusion between the Vetrovec witnesses, but,......

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