R. v. Lewis, (1979) 27 N.R. 451 (SCC)

JudgeLaskin, C.J.C., Martland, Ritchie, Spence Pigeon, Dickson, Beetz, Estey and Pratte, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateJune 14, 1979
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1979), 27 N.R. 451 (SCC);47 CCC (2d) 24;98 DLR (3d) 111;[1979] 2 SCR 821;[1979] CarswellBC 520;27 NR 451;10 CR (3d) 299;1979 CanLII 19 (SCC);[1979] SCJ No 73 (QL)

R. v. Lewis (1979), 27 N.R. 451 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

R. v. Lewis

Indexed As: R. v. Lewis

Supreme Court of Canada

Laskin, C.J.C., Martland, Ritchie, Spence Pigeon, Dickson, Beetz, Estey and Pratte, JJ.

June 14, 1979.

Summary:

This case arose out of a charge of murder against the accused. A husband and wife were murdered by the mailing to them of an electric kettle containing an explosive set to explode when the kettle was plugged in. The Crown charged the wife's father and the accused with the murder. The Crown's theory was that the father was displeased by the wife's marriage and hired the accused to build a bomb and mail it to the couple. The accused admitted mailing the kettle, but denied knowing that it was a bomb. The evidence against the accused was circumstantial and one of the issues was whether he had a motive to commit the crime. An inference could be drawn from the evidence that he might have had a financial motive. Both the father and the accused were convicted and the accused appealed. The British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. The accused appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada and leave to appeal was granted only on the alleged error of the trial judge in failing to define motive and in failing to direct the jury on the issue of motive.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal after comprehensively discussing the concept of motive and its significance in determining criminal responsibility.

Practice - Topic 9017

Appeals - Restrictions on argument on appeal - Failure to object at trial - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the object to the summation to the jury by the trial judge does not preclude objection being taken on appeal; although objections taken at trial are indicative of the primary concern of counsel and are of some assistance in assessing the importance of objections on appeal - See paragraph 49.

Criminal Law - Topic 164

Elements of criminal conduct - Motive - The Supreme Court of Canada defined the concept of motive and its significance in determining criminal responsibility - See paragraphs 27 to 42.

Criminal Law - Topic 4369

Procedure - Jury - Charge or directions - Motive - The Supreme Court of Canada set out the principles governing the concept of motive and its significance, particularly with regard to charging the jury - See paragraphs 27 to 42.

Criminal Law - Topic 4378

Procedure - Jury - Charge or directions - Judicial review of - The Supreme Court of Canada set out the scope of review of a trial judge's summation to the jury - See paragraphs 52 to 53 and 63.

Cases Noticed:

Hyman v. D.P.P., [1975] A.C. 55 (H.L.), appld. [para. 30].

R. v. Barbour, [1938] S.C.R. 465, appld. [para. 34].

R. v. Imrich (1974), 6 O.R.(2d) 496, affd. 15 N.R. 227; [1978] 1 S.C.R. 622, appld. [para. 34].

Pointer v. U.S., 151 U.S. 396, appld. [para. 34].

Markadonis v. R., [1935] S.C.R. 657, appld. [para. 36].

R. v. Ellwood (1908), 1 Cr. App. Rep. 181 (C.C.A.), appld. [para. 37].

Colpitts v. The Queen, [1965] S.C.R. 739, appld. [para. 41].

R. v. Malanik (NO. 2) (1951), 13 C.R. 160 (Man. C.A.), appld. [para. 52].

R. v. Stoddard (1909), 2 Cr. App. R. 217, appld. [para. 53].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Best on Evidence (12th Ed. 1922), para. 453 [para. 33].

Cross on Evidence (4th Ed. 1974), pp. 34-35 [para. 33].

Halsbury's Laws of England (4th Ed. 1976), vol. 11, paras. 11 [para. 27]; 365 [para. 33].

Howard, Criminal Law (1977), p. 364 [para. 33].

McWilliams, Canadian Criminal Evidence (1974), pp. 299-300, 332 [para. 33].

Phipson on Evidence (12th Ed. 1976), para. 382 [para. 33].

Smith and Hogans, Criminal Law (4th Ed. 1978), pp. 63 [para. 29]; 64 [paras. 29, 33].

Wigmore on Evidence, vol. 1, paras. 118, 392 [para. 33].

Williams, Glanville, Criminal Law, The General Part (2nd Ed. 1961), pp. 48 [para. 28]; 49 note 4 [para. 33].

Counsel:

Kenneth G. Young, for the appellant;

Douglas A. Hogarth, Q.C., for the respondent.

This case was heard on November 21, 1978, at Ottawa, Ontario, before LASKIN, C.J.C., MARTLAND, RITCHIE, SPENCE, PIGEON, DICKSON, BEETZ, ESTEY and PRATTE, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On June 14, 1979, DICKSON, J., delivered the following judgment for the Supreme Court of Canada:

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