R. v. Leggette (B.), (2015) 358 N.S.R.(2d) 294 (SC)

Judge:Arnold, J.
Court:Supreme Court of Nova Scotia
Case Date:April 14, 2015
Jurisdiction:Nova Scotia
Citations:(2015), 358 N.S.R.(2d) 294 (SC);2015 NSSC 152
 
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R. v. Leggette (B.) (2015), 358 N.S.R.(2d) 294 (SC);

    1131 A.P.R. 294

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Temp. Cite: [2015] N.S.R.(2d) TBEd. MY.048

Her Majesty the Queen v. Blake William David Leggette and Victoria Lea Henneberry

(CRH No. 430128; 2015 NSSC 152)

Indexed As: R. v. Leggette (B.) et al.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Arnold, J.

April 14, 2015.

Summary:

The victim was choked unconscious and then suffocated to death when she attempted to collect rent money from the accused, Leggette and Henneberry. Henneberry provided a statement to police, locating the body and implicating Leggette as the murderer. The accused were charged with first degree murder. While in custody, Leggette wrote a description of the crime (approximately 35 pages of handwritten notes), indicating, inter alia, that he planned to implicate Henneberry as the murderer in order to avoid life in prison. The writings were admitted into evidence at trial against Leggette only. Henneberry applied for severance.

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court dismissed the application.

Editor's Note: For related decisions regarding these accused, see (2014), 348 N.S.R.(2d) 350; 1100 A.P.R. 350 (exclusion of witnesses at preliminary inquiry), (2015), 358 N.S.R.(2d) 328; 1131 A.P.R. 328 (Charter application voir dire), (2014), 358 N.S.R.(2d) 264; 1131 A.P.R. 264 (evidence at preliminary inquiry), (2014), 358 N.S.R.(2d) 274; 1131 A.P.R. 274 (committal for trial), and (2015), 358 N.S.R.(2d) 378; 1131 A.P.R. 378 (sentence).

Criminal Law - Topic 4482

Procedure - Trial - Joint or separate trials of two or more persons - The victim was choked unconscious and then suffocated to death when she attempted to collect rent money from the accused, Leggette and Henneberry - Henneberry provided a statement to police, locating the body and implicating Leggette as the murderer - The accused were charged with first degree murder - While in custody, Leggette wrote a description of the crime (approximately 35 pages of handwritten notes), indicating his own and Henneberry's involvement and that he planned to implicate Henneberry as the murderer in order to avoid life in prison - The writings were admitted into evidence at trial against Leggette only - Henneberry applied for severance - The Nova Scotia Supreme Court dismissed the application - The prejudicial effect of Leggette's writings was tempered by the totality of the evidence that appeared to be admissible against both accused - Leggette's writings were not the only evidence linking Henneberry to the crime - Further, a jury would be capable of following carefully drafted instructions advising them of the use that could be made of Leggette's writings - There was a strong possibility of a classic "cut throat" situation - This was a significant factor - The accused could have a fair trial if tried together - With separate trials, the risk of inconsistent verdicts was real - The truth would most likely be revealed if the accused were tried together - A clear and careful mid-trial and final instruction would preserve procedural fairness.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Litchfield, [1993] 4 S.C.R. 333; 161 N.R. 161; 145 A.R. 321; 55 W.A.C. 321; 86 C.C.C.(3d) 97, refd to. [para. 24].

R. v. Weir (No. 4) et al. (1899), 3 C.C.C. 351 (Que. Q.B.), refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Creighton (D.J.) and Crawford (C.), [1995] 1 S.C.R. 858; 179 N.R. 161; 81 O.A.C. 359, refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Suzack (C.V.) et al. (2000), 128 O.A.C. 140; 141 C.C.C.(3d) 449; 2000 CanLII 5630 (C.A.), leave to appeal denied (2001), 270 N.R. 193; 150 O.A.C. 197 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 30].

R. v. Al-Enzi (N.B.) (2014), 322 O.A.C. 141; 2014 ONCA 569, refd to. [para. 33].

R. v. Grewall (A.S.) et al., [2000] B.C.T.C. 909; 2000 BCSC 1451, refd to. [para. 36].

R. v. Qahwash, 2011 ONSC 4649, refd to. [para. 39].

R. v. Corbett, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 670; 85 N.R. 81, refd to. [para. 40].

R. v. Olah (S.) and Rushton (J.D.) (1997), 100 O.A.C. 1 (C.A.), leave to appeal denied (1998), 227 N.R. 147 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 41].

R. v. Hamilton (A.) et al. (2011), 279 O.A.C. 199; 2011 ONCA 399, refd to. [para. 45].

R. v. Jacobson (C.), [2004] O.T.C. 1204 (Sup. Ct.), refd to. [para. 49].

R. v. Thrower (M.J.), [2005] B.C.T.C. 234; 2005 BCSC 234, refd to. [para. 51].

R. v. Figliola (M.) et al. (2011), 281 O.A.C. 306; 2011 ONCA 457, dist. [para. 54].

R. v. Guimond, [1979] 1 S.C.R. 960; 26 N.R. 91, dist. [para. 58].

R. v. Melvin (J.E.) (1994), 129 N.S.R.(2d) 391; 362 A.P.R. 391 (S.C.), dist. [para. 60].

Counsel:

Christine Driscoll and Sean P. McCarroll, for the Crown;

Terrance Sheppard, for the defendant, Blake William David Leggette;

J. Patrick L. Atherton, for the defendant, Victoria Lea Henneberry.

This application was heard at Halifax, N.S., on January 19-21 and February 12 and 25, 2015, by Arnold, J., of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, who rendered the court's decision orally on April 14, 2015, and in writing on May 21, 2015.

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