R. v. MacKenzie, (1993) 146 N.R. 321 (SCC)

JudgeLamer, C.J.C., La Forest, Gonthier, McLachlin and Stevenson, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateJanuary 21, 1993
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1993), 146 N.R. 321 (SCC);[1993] SCJ No 7 (QL);1993 CanLII 149 (SCC);327 APR 290;118 NSR (2d) 290;[1993] ACS no 7;146 NR 321;18 CR (4th) 133;78 CCC (3d) 193;[1993] 1 SCR 212;[1993] CarswellNS 12;18 WCB (2d) 348

R. v. MacKenzie (1993), 146 N.R. 321 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

John Alexander MacKenzie (appellant) v. Her Majesty The Queen (respondent)

(22423)

Indexed As: R. v. MacKenzie

Supreme Court of Canada

Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, Gonthier, McLachlin and Stevenson, JJ.

January 21, 1993.

Summary:

The accused was acquitted by a jury on three charges of first degree murder. The Crown appealed, submitting, inter alia, that a portion of the accused's confession was improperly excluded and the jury was mis­directed to believe they could reject each individual piece of evidence if they had a reasonable doubt about it.

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Appeal Division, Freeman, J.A., dissenting, in a judgment reported 103 N.S.R.(2d) 91; 282 A.P.R. 91, allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. The court held that the trial judge misdirected the jury respecting rejection of individual pieces of evidence on the ground of reasonable doubt; that the jury's verdict may have been affected by the misdirection. The accused appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal and restored the acquittal. The court stated that the jury was not misdirected and were not misled. The court stated that had the jury been misled, it agreed with the Court of Appeal that the verdict would not necessarily have been the same.

Criminal Law - Topic 4351

Procedure - Jury charge - Re burden of proof and reasonable doubt - The accused was acquitted of murder - The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial, where the jury charge misled the jury into believing they were to apply the doctrine of reasonable doubt to parts of the evidence, rather than the evidence as a whole at the conclusion of the case - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the jury charge clearly conveyed to the jury that they were to consider the evidence as a whole and not in a piecemeal fashion - There was no misdirection - Alternatively, if there was misdirection, it was cured by the rest of the charge - See paragraphs 23 to 46.

Criminal Law - Topic 4352

Procedure - Jury charge - Directions on evidence generally - [See Criminal Law - Topic 4351 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 4375.1

Procedure - Jury charge - Directions re exculpatory statements by accused - An accused gave a statement to police con­fessing to a murder - At trial, the accused gave exculpatory evidence conflicting with the confession - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the jury should be instructed to reject the inculpatory evi­dence (confession) if, having regard to all the evidence, they had a reasonable doubt about it - See paragraph 48.

Criminal Law - Topic 4375.2

Procedure - Jury charge - Directions re prior inconsistent statements - An accused charged with murder gave exculpatory evidence at trial conflicting with a confes­sion to police - The two stories could not logically be reconciled - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "when a judge ventures into this kind of instruction, a reviewing court will have two concerns: (1) that the jury must know that their job is not to choose the most believable of the versions, but that the version most favour­able to the accused is entitled to the bene­fit of the doubt; and (2) the two versions cannot be simply pitted against one another in isolation; rather all of the evi­dence must also be considered." - See paragraph 37.

Criminal Law - Topic 4828

Appeals - Indictable offences - Right of appeal - By Crown - [See first Criminal Law - Topic 4951 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 4951

Appeals - Indictable offences - New trials - Grounds - Misdirection by trial judge - Appeal by Crown from acquittal - An accused was acquitted of murder - The Crown successfully appealed and obtained a new trial - The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in excluding the accused's confession, but did not order a new trial on this ground - The accused appealed, but abandoned the appeal re­specting the admissibility of the statement - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that since the Crown was successful on appeal, s. 693(1) of the Criminal Code precluded the Crown from appealing or cross-appealing - Accordingly, it was not open to the Crown to claim the Court of Appeal erred in failing to order a new trial on the ground of improper exclusion of the confession - See paragraphs 19 to 22.

Criminal Law - Topic 4951

Appeals - Indictable offences - New trials - Grounds - Misdirection by trial judge - Appeal by Crown from acquittal - An accused was acquitted of murder - The Crown appealed on the ground of misdi­rection - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the Crown could obtain a new trial only if the verdict would not neces­sarily have been the same if the jury had been properly instructed - The court stated that the Court of Appeal did not err in expressing the standard of review as satis­fying the court that the verdict "might have been different" - The statements were two different ways of saying the same thing - See paragraphs 47 to 49.

Evidence - Topic 5

Definitions - "Facts" and "evidence of facts" distinguished - A judge of the Supreme Court of Canada distinguished between "facts" and "evidence of facts" in a criminal trial - See paragraphs 57 to 60.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Morin, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 345; 88 N.R. 161; 30 O.A.C. 181; 44 C.C.C.(3d) 193; 66 C.R.(3d) 1, consd. [para. 16].

R. v. Minhas (1986), 16 O.A.C. 42; 29 C.C.C.(3d) 193 (C.A.), consd. [para. 16].

R. v. Nadeau, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 570; 56 N.R. 130, consd. [para. 16].

R. v. Barnes, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 449; 121 N.R. 267, refd to. [para. 21].

R. v. Guillemette, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 356; 66 N.R. 19, refd to. [para. 21].

R. v. Challice (1979), 45 C.C.C.(2d) 546 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 39].

R. v. Thatcher, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 652; 75 N.R. 198; 57 Sask.R. 113; [1987] 4 W.W.R. 193; 57 C.R.(3d) 97; 32 C.C.C.(3d) 481, refd to. [para. 40].

R. v. Gauthier, [1977] 1 S.C.R. 441; 10 N.R. 373, refd to. [para. 45].

R. v. Demeter (1975), 25 C.C.C.(2d) 417 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 46].

R. v. Vézeau, [1977] 2 S.C.R. 277; 8 N.R. 235, refd to. [para. 46].

R. v. Proudlock, [1979] 1 S.C.R. 525; 24 N.R. 199, refd to. [para. 62].

Statutes Noticed:

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 693(1) [para. 20].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Eggleston, R., Evidence, Proof and Prob­ability (2nd Ed. 1983), p. 122 [para. 57].

Counsel:

Joel E. Pink, Q.C., and Donald C. Murray, for the appellant;

Robert C. Hagell and Denise Smith, for the respondent.

Solicitors of Record:

Stewart McKelvey Stirling Scales, Halifax, N.S., for the appellant;

Attorney General of Nova Scotia, Halifax, N.S., for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on April 3, 1992, before Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, Gonthier, McLachlin and Stevenson, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada was delivered on January 21, 1993, and the following opinions were filed:

La Forest, J. (Gonthier and McLachlin, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 55;

Lamer, C.J.C. - see paragraphs 56 to 63.

Stevenson, J., did not participate in the judgment.

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