R. v. Pearce (M.L.), 2014 MBCA 70

JurisdictionManitoba
JudgeHamilton, Monnin and Mainella, JJ.A.
Neutral Citation2014 MBCA 70
Citation2014 MBCA 70,(2014), 310 Man.R.(2d) 14 (CA),318 CCC (3d) 372,310 Man R (2d) 14,310 ManR(2d) 14,(2014), 310 ManR(2d) 14 (CA),310 Man.R.(2d) 14
Date16 December 2013
CourtCourt of Appeal (Manitoba)

R. v. Pearce (M.L.) (2014), 310 Man.R.(2d) 14 (CA);

      618 W.A.C. 14

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2014] Man.R.(2d) TBEd. JL.022

Her Majesty The Queen (respondent) v. Michael Lynn Pearce (accused) (appellant)

(AR-12-30-07845; 2014 MBCA 70)

Indexed As: R. v. Pearce (M.L.)

Manitoba Court of Appeal

Hamilton, Monnin and Mainella, JJ.A.

July 17, 2014.

Summary:

The accused was convicted of manslaughter. He appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial judge erred in refusing to admit expert evidence on false confessions and that the jury was not adequately instructed.

The Manitoba Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, quashed the conviction and ordered a new trial. While the judge was right to refuse to admit expert evidence on false confessions in the circumstances of this case, the context of this case required her to caution the jury about the phenomenon of false confessions to ensure a fair trial.

Editor's Note: The trial judge's voir dire ruling respecting admissibility of the expert evidence is reported at 277 Man.R.(2d) 27.

Criminal Law - Topic 5330

Evidence and witnesses - Confessions and voluntary statements - General - [See Criminal Law - Topic 5355.1 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 5355.1

Evidence and witnesses - Confessions and voluntary statements - False confessions - The Manitoba Court of Appeal discussed the phenomenon of false confessions - See paragraphs 48 to 65.

Criminal Law - Topic 4375.7

Procedure - Charge or directions - Jury or judge alone - Directions regarding false confessions - The accused was facing a manslaughter charge - The only evidence implicating the accused was a statement he made to police - The accused later claimed that the confession was not true and sought to call two psychologists at trial to provide opinion evidence regarding false confessions - The trial judge refused to admit the expert evidence on false confessions - The accused was convicted - He appealed - The Manitoba Court of Appeal allowed the appeal - While the judge was right to refuse to admit expert evidence on false confessions in the circumstances of this case, the context of this case required her to caution the jury about the phenomenon of false confessions to ensure a fair trial, despite counsel's failure to request such an instruction - See paragraphs 6 and 136 to 145.

Criminal Law - Topic 4375.7

Procedure - Charge or directions - Jury or judge alone - Directions regarding false confessions - The Manitoba Court of Appeal discussed generally the issue of jury instructions relating to false confessions - The court also discussed when a trial judge should caution a jury about false confessions - The court declined to endorse a particular wording of such a caution, stating that content was best suited for a trial judge to craft given the exigencies of a particular case - The court stated that "Properly done, a jury caution on the phenomenon of false confessions will dispel the assumption, ... that nobody would confess to something that they did not do ... A properly worded jury caution on the phenomenon of false confessions will also assist the jury in evaluating the reliability of the confession in their weighing of it ..." - See paragraphs 116 to 135.

Evidence - Topic 7000.4

Opinion evidence - Expert evidence - General - Admissibility - General - The Manitoba Court of Appeal discussed generally the admissibility of expert evidence - See paragraphs 66 to 74.

Evidence - Topic 7010.1

Opinion evidence - Expert evidence - General - Evidence of new medical or scientific doctrines - The Manitoba Court of Appeal stated that "Expert evidence of a scientific nature must meet a standard of threshold reliability to ensure that the expert's reasoning or methodology is scientifically valid before being admitted to prove a fact at issue. In some cases this is not a contentious issue as the science in question is well recognized by the courts to be reliable ... However, in cases like this where the science, or its use, is novel, the trial judge, as part of their gatekeeper function, must carefully scrutinize the reliability of the proposed opinion evidence ..." - The court thereafter summarized the factors to be used in scrutinizing reliability - See paragraphs 69 and 70.

Evidence - Topic 7062.3

Opinion evidence - Expert evidence - Particular matters - False confessions - The accused was facing a manslaughter charge - The accused claimed that he had made a false confession and sought to call a psychologist (Peterson) to provide opinion evidence regarding false confessions - Peterson's evidence related to how interviewing techniques affected the reliability of responses - Peterson's theory was that the police officers' use of leading and suggestive questions caused the accused to infer a response, rather than state what he truly remembered - The trial judge refused to admit the expert evidence on false convictions - The accused was convicted - He appealed - The Manitoba Court of Appeal held that this was not a proper area of expert evidence on credibility as defined by Marquard (SCC 1993) - The trial judge properly refused to admit the evidence - See paragraphs 75 to 79.

Evidence - Topic 7062.3

Opinion evidence - Expert evidence - Particular matters - False confessions - The accused was facing a manslaughter charge - The accused claimed that he had made a false confession and sought to call a psychologist (Peterson) to provide opinion evidence regarding false confessions - The trial judge refused to admit the expert evidence, holding that Peterson's theory that the accused's personality traits made him more prone to being induced to falsely confess and the methodology he relied on to come to that conclusion, did not meet the Mohan (SCC 1994) criterion of legal relevance - The accused appealed - The Manitoba Court of Appeal held that the trial judge properly refused to admit the expert evidence - There was no credible evidence adduced that the accused had "distinctive behaviourial characteristics", nor did Peterson's technique of measuring personality have a proper scientific basis - Further, Peterson's evidence did not meet the Mohan criterion of necessity - See paragraphs 80 to 90.

Evidence - Topic 7062.3

Opinion evidence - Expert evidence - Particular matters - False confessions - The accused was facing a manslaughter charge - The accused claimed that he had made a false confession and sought to call a psychologist (Moore) to provide opinion evidence regarding false confessions - Moore was to testify regarding how police investigative techniques (especially the "Reid Technique") could affect the reliability of a confession and to give his opinion on the reliability of the accused's confession - The trial judge refused to admit the expert evidence, holding that it failed to meet the necessity criterion in Mohan (SCC 1994) - The accused appealed - The Manitoba Court of Appeal held that expert evidence directed solely to the question of credibility was not admissible because it usurped the function of the jury - The court failed to see how Moore's opinion evidence was necessary for the jury - Even if the evidence had met the Mohan criteria, the evidence would have been excluded for lack of impartiality - See paragraphs 91 to 106.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Mohan, [1994] 2 S.C.R. 9; 166 N.R. 245; 71 O.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 31].

Piché v. R., [1971] S.C.R. 23, refd to. [para. 48].

R. v. J.T.J., Jr., [1990] 2 S.C.R. 755; 112 N.R. 321; 70 Man.R.(2d) 81, refd to. [para. 48].

Commissioners of Customs & Excise v. Harz and Power (1967), 51 Cr. App. R. 123 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 48].

R. v. Grandinetti (C.H.), [2005] 1 S.C.R. 27; 329 N.R. 28; 363 A.R. 1; 343 W.A.C. 1; 2005 SCC 5, refd to. [para. 49].

R. v. Spencer (B.S.), [2007] 1 S.C.R. 500; 358 N.R. 278; 237 B.C.A.C. 1; 392 W.A.C. 1; 2007 SCC 11, refd to. [para. 49].

R. v. S.G.T., [2010] 1 S.C.R. 688; 402 N.R. 24; 350 Sask.R. 14; 487 W.A.C. 14; 2010 SCC 20, refd to. [para. 49].

Kelsey v. R., [1953] 1 S.C.R. 220, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. Singh (J.), [2007] 3 S.C.R. 405; 369 N.R. 1; 249 B.C.A.C. 1; 414 W.A.C. 1; 2007 SCC 48, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. M.C.H., [1998] 2 S.C.R. 449; 230 N.R. 1; 113 O.A.C. 97, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. Hodgson - see R. v. M.C.H.

R. v. Rojas (M.A.) et al., [2008] 3 S.C.R. 111; 380 N.R. 211; 260 B.C.A.C. 258; 439 W.A.C. 258; 2008 SCC 56, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. Oickle (R.F.), [2000] 2 S.C.R. 3; 259 N.R. 227; 187 N.S.R.(2d) 201; 585 A.P.R. 201; 2000 SCC 38, refd to. [para. 52].

R. v. Phillion (R.J.) (2009), 246 O.A.C. 317; 2009 ONCA 202, refd to. [para. 57].

R. v. Eaton (1978), 39 C.C.C.(2d) 455 (Man. C.A.), refd to. [para. 59].

R. v. Wells (S.W.) (2003), 181 B.C.A.C. 271; 298 W.A.C. 271; 2003 BCCA 242, refd to. [para. 61].

R. v. Buhay (M.A.), [2003] 1 S.C.R. 631; 305 N.R. 158; 177 Man.R.(2d) 72; 304 W.A.C. 72; 2003 SCC 30, refd to. [para. 61].

R. v. Seaboyer and Gayme, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 577; 128 N.R. 81; 48 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 61].

R. v. Harrer (H.M.), [1995] 3 S.C.R. 562; 186 N.R. 329; 64 B.C.A.C. 161; 105 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 61].

R. v. Buric (G.J.) et al. (1996), 90 O.A.C. 321; 28 O.R.(3d) 737 (C.A.), affd. [1997] 1 S.C.R. 535; 209 N.R. 241; 98 O.A.C. 398, refd to. [para. 61].

R. v. Osmar (T.) (2007), 220 O.A.C. 186; 84 O.R.(3d) 321; 2007 ONCA 50, leave to appeal refused (2007), 374 N.R. 396; 241 O.A.C. 397 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 61].

R. v. Humaid (A.A.) (2006), 210 O.A.C. 68; 81 O.R.(3d) 456 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused (2006), 361 N.R. 389; 227 O.A.C. 398 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 62].

R. v. Hay (L.) et al., [2013] 3 S.C.R. 694; 451 N.R. 34; 312 O.A.C. 201; 2013 SCC 61, refd to. [para. 62].

R. v. Gauthier, [1977] 1 S.C.R. 441; 10 N.R. 373, refd to. [para. 63].

R. v. Erven, [1979] 1 S.C.R. 926; 25 N.R. 49; 30 N.S.R.(2d) 89; 49 A.P.R. 89, refd to. [para. 63].

R. v. Park, [1981] 2 S.C.R. 64; 37 N.R. 501, refd to. [para. 63].

R. v. Lapointe and Sicotte (1983), 1 O.A.C. 1 (C.A.), affd. [1987] 1 S.C.R. 1253; 76 N.R. 228; 21 O.A.C. 176, refd to. [para. 63].

R. v. Phillion, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 18; 14 N.R. 371, refd to. [para. 64].

R. v. A.K. (1999), 125 O.A.C. 1; 45 O.R.(3d) 641 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 67].

R. v. J.-L.J., [2000] 2 S.C.R. 600; 261 N.R. 111; 2000 SCC 51, refd to. [para. 67].

R. v. D.D., [2000] 2 S.C.R. 275; 259 N.R. 156; 136 O.A.C. 201; 2000 SCC 43, refd to. [para. 67].

R. v. Sekhon (A.S.) (2014), 454 N.R. 41; 351 B.C.A.C. 1; 599 W.A.C. 1; 2014 SCC 15, refd to. [para. 67].

R. v. Abbey (W.N.) (2009), 254 O.A.C. 9; 97 O.R.(3d) 330; 2009 ONCA 624, leave to appeal refused (2010), 409 N.R. 397; 276 O.A.C. 398 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 67].

R. v. Trochym (S.J.), [2007] 1 S.C.R. 239; 357 N.R. 201; 221 O.A.C. 281; 2007 SCC 6, refd to. [para. 69].

Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993), 509 U.S. 579, refd to. [para. 69].

Best v. Revere (Paul) Life Insurance Co. (2000), 150 Man.R.(2d) 105; 230 W.A.C. 105; 2000 MBCA 81, refd to. [para. 69].

Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael (1999), 526 U.S. 137, refd to. [para. 70].

R. v. McIntosh (O.) and McCarthy (P.) (1997), 102 O.A.C. 210; 35 O.R.(3d) 97 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1997] S.C.C.A. No. 610, refd to. [para. 72].

R. v. Woodard (J.) (2009), 240 Man.R.(2d) 24; 456 W.A.C. 24; 2009 MBCA 42, refd to. [para. 74].

R. v. Marquard (D.), [1993] 4 S.C.R. 223; 159 N.R. 81; 66 O.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 75].

R. v. D.R., H.R. and D.W., [1996] 2 S.C.R. 291; 197 N.R. 321; 144 Sask.R. 81; 124 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 76].

R. v. Corbett, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 670; 85 N.R. 81, refd to. [para. 79].

R. v. Mezzo, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 802; 68 N.R. 1; 43 Man.R.(2d) 161, refd to. [para. 79].

R. v. Dietrich, [1970] 3 O.R. 725 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1970] S.C.R. xi, refd to. [para. 82].

R. v. Ward (1993), 96 Cr. App. R. 1 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 83].

R. v. Robinson (1994), 98 Cr. App. R. 370 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 83].

R. v. O'Brien et al., [2000] E.W.C.A. Crim. 3; [2000] Crim. L.R. 676, refd to. [para. 84].

R. v. Fell, [2001] E.W.C.A. Crim. 696, refd to. [para. 84].

R. v. MacKenny, [2004] 2 Cr. App. R. 32 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 84].

R. v. Warren (1995), 35 C.R.(4th) 347 (N.W.T. S.C.), refd to. [para. 87].

R. v. Turner (1974), 60 Cr. App. R. 80 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 89].

R. v. Dubois (1976), 30 C.C.C.(2d) 412 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 89].

R. v. Weightman (1991), 92 Cr. App. R. 291 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 89].

R. v. Burns (R.H.), [1994] 1 S.C.R. 656; 165 N.R. 374; 42 B.C.A.C. 161; 67 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 89].

Alfano v. Piersanti et al. (2012), 291 O.A.C. 62; 2012 ONCA 297, refd to. [para. 97].

Abbott and Haliburton Co. Ltd. et al. v. WBLI Chartered Accountants (2013), 330 N.S.R.(2d) 301; 1046 A.P.R. 301; 2013 NSCA 66, refd to. [para. 97].

Deemar v. College of Veterinarians (Ont.), [2008] O.A.C. Uned. 420; 92 O.R.(3d) 97; 2008 ONCA 600, refd to. [para. 97].

Jones v. Kaney, [2011] 2 A.C. 398; [2011] UKSC 13, refd to. [para. 98].

R. v. Viszlai (J.G.) (2012), 330 B.C.A.C. 46; 562 W.A.C. 46; 2012 BCCA 442, refd to. [para. 100].

Mitchell v. R., [1998] A.C. 695, refd to. [para. 100].

R. v. Main (B.J.) (1993), 67 O.A.C. 350 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 100].

R. v. Murray, [1950] 2 All E.R. 925 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 101].

R. v. Orel (1944), 82 C.C.C. 35 (Sask. C.A.), refd to. [para. 101].

R. v. McAloon, [1959] O.R. 441 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 101].

United States of America v. Burns and Rafay, [2001] 1 S.C.R. 283; 265 N.R. 212; 148 B.C.A.C. 1; 243 W.A.C. 1; 2001 SCC 7, refd to. [para. 103].

R. v. Bonisteel (R.) (2008), 259 B.C.A.C. 114; 436 W.A.C. 114; 2008 BCCA 344, refd to. [para. 107].

R. v. W.J.D., [2007] 3 S.C.R. 523; 369 N.R. 225; 302 Sask.R. 4; 411 W.A.C. 4; 226 C.C.C.(3d) 1; 2007 SCC 53, refd to. [para. 109].

R. v. Daley - see R. v. W.J.D.

R. v. Cooper, [1993] 1 S.C.R. 146; 146 N.R. 367; 103 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 209; 326 A.P.R. 209, refd to. [para. 111].

R. v. Jacquard (C.O.), [1997] 1 S.C.R. 314; 207 N.R. 246; 157 N.S.R.(2d) 161; 462 A.P.R. 161, refd to. [para. 112].

R. v. Lesuk (R.W.) (2000), 148 Man.R.(2d) 39; 224 W.A.C. 39; 2000 MBCA 24, refd to. [para. 112].

R. v. Kociuk (R.J.) (2011), 270 Man.R.(2d) 170; 524 W.A.C. 170; 2011 MBCA 85, affd. [2012] 1 S.C.R. 529; 429 N.R. 327; 280 Man.R.(2d) 53; 548 W.A.C. 53; 2012 SCC 15, refd to. [para. 112].

R. v. Pickton (R.W.), [2010] 2 S.C.R. 198; 404 N.R. 198; 290 B.C.A.C. 264; 491 W.A.C. 264; 2010 SCC 32, refd to. [para. 113].

R. v. Sophonow (1984), 29 Man.R.(2d) 1 (C.A.), affd. [1984] 2 S.C.R. 524; 57 N.R. 13; 31 Man.R.(2d) 8, refd to. [para. 114].

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. 115].

R. v. Minhas (1986), 16 O.A.C. 42 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused (1987), 86 N.R. 320; 25 O.A.C. 240 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 116].

R. v. French, [1980] 1 S.C.R. 158; 28 N.R. 100, refd to. [para. 117].

R. v. Welsh (J.) (2013), 304 O.A.C. 201; 115 O.R.(3d) 81; 2013 ONCA 190, leave to appeal refused [2013] S.C.C.A. 383, refd to. [para. 117].

Colpitts v. R., [1965] S.C.R. 739, refd to. [para. 118].

Rustad v. R., [1965] S.C.R. 555, refd to. [para. 119].

R. v. D.W., [1991] 1 S.C.R. 742; 122 N.R. 277; 46 O.A.C. 352, refd to. [para. 123].

R. v. Thomas (E.), [2010] O.A.C. Uned. 143; 2010 ONCA 209, leave to appeal refused (2011), 422 N.R. 383; 257 O.A.C. 397 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 124].

R. v. Griffin (J.) et al., [2009] 2 S.C.R. 42; 388 N.R. 334; 2009 SCC 28, refd to. [para. 125].

R. v. Bouchard (S.) (2013), 314 O.A.C. 113; 2013 ONCA 791, refd to. [para. 125].

R. v. White (D.R.), [2011] 1 S.C.R. 433; 412 N.R. 305; 300 B.C.A.C. 165; 509 W.A.C. 165; 2011 SCC 13, refd to. [para. 126].

R. v. Brooks (F.A.), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 237; 250 N.R. 103; 129 O.A.C. 205; 141 C.C.C.(3d) 321, refd to. [para. 127].

R. v. Fry (N.R.) (2011), 311 B.C.A.C. 90; 529 W.A.C. 90; 2011 BCCA 381, refd to. [para. 128].

R. v. James (J.A.) (2013), 331 B.C.A.C. 292; 565 W.A.C. 292; 2013 BCCA 11, leave to appeal refused (2013), 458 N.R. 395 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 128].

R. v. Earhart (B.A.) (2011), 313 B.C.A.C. 226; 533 W.A.C. 226; 2011 BCCA 490, refd to. [para. 131].

R. v. Hibbert (K.R.), [2002] 2 S.C.R. 445; 287 N.R. 111; 165 B.C.A.C. 161; 270 W.A.C. 161; 2002 SCC 39, refd to. [para. 132].

R. v. Henderson (W.E.) (2012), 284 Man.R.(2d) 164; 555 W.A.C. 164; 2012 MBCA 93, leave to appeal refused (2013), 453 N.R. 397 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 133].

R. v. Chambers (No. 2), [1990] 2 S.C.R. 1293; 119 N.R. 321, refd to. [para. 143].

R. v. Khan (M.A.), [2001] 3 S.C.R. 823; 279 N.R. 79; 160 Man.R.(2d) 161; 262 W.A.C. 161; 2001 SCC 86, refd to. [para. 146].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Anderson, Glenn R., Expert Evidence (2nd Ed. 2009), pp. 42, 336 to 338 [para. 98].

Garrett, Brandon L., Judging Innocence (2008), 108 Colum. L.R. 55, p. 88 [para. 55].

Gudjonsson, Gisli H., The Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions (2003), pp. 173 [para. 56]; 174 to 176 [para. 54]; 177 [paras. 54, 57]; 178 [para. 54].

Innocence Project, False Confessions, http://www. innocenceproject.org/understand/False-Confessions.php, generally [para. 55].

Kaufman, Fred, The Admissibility of Confessions (3rd Ed. 1979), pp. 15 to 17 [para. 51].

MacFarlane, Bruce, Convicting The Innocent: A Triple Failure of the Justice System (2006), 31 Man. L.J. 403, p. 474 [para. 53].

Paciocco, David M. and Stuesser, Lee, The Law of Evidence (6th Ed. 2011), pp. 188, 189 [para. 76].

Trotter, Garry T., False Confessions and Wrongful Convictions (2003-2004), 35 Ottawa L. Rev. 179 [para. 129].

Wigmore, John Henry, Evidence in Trials at Common Law (Chadbourn Rev. 1970), vol. 3, pp. 291 to 308 [para. 59].

Counsel:

G.F. Wiebe, for the appellant;

N.M. Cutler and D.L. Carlson, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on December 16, 2013, before Hamilton, Monnin and Mainella, JJ.A., of the Manitoba Court of Appeal. The decision of the court was delivered by Mainella, J.A., on July 17, 2014.

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45 practice notes
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34 cases
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3 books & journal articles
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    • Irwin Books The Law of Evidence. Eighth Edition
    • June 25, 2020
    ...of a Party.” 169 Oickle , above note 21 at paras 32–36, and see the description of the phenomena of false confessions in R v Pearce , 2014 MBCA 70 at paras 47–65 [ Pearce ]. 170 Hebert , above note 19 at paras 22–42. 171 R v Richards , 2017 ONCA 424 at paras 82–84. Proof that the statement ......
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books The Law of Evidence. Eighth Edition
    • June 25, 2020
    ...422 R v Payette (2010), 259 CCC (3d) 178 (BC CA) ................................................. 487 R v Pearce, 2014 MBCA 70 ..................................................................424, 442, 447 R v Pearson, 2017 ONCA 389 ..............................................................
  • Expert Evidence: Judge as Gatekeeper
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books The Lawyer’s Guide to the Forensic Sciences
    • June 23, 2016
    ...provide the jury with the necessary tools to interpret the evidence without the necessity of an expert. See, for example, R. v. Pearce , 2014 MBCA 70 at para 72 (citing R. v. D.D ., 2000 SCC 43 at para 67). “A jury instruction, in preference to expert opinion, where practicable, has advanta......

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