R. v. Power (E.), (1994) 165 N.R. 241 (SCC)

JudgeGonthier, Cory, McLachlin and Major, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateApril 14, 1994
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1994), 165 N.R. 241 (SCC)

R. v. Power (E.) (1994), 165 N.R. 241 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

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

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

Her Majesty the Queen (appellant) v. Eugene Paul Power (respondent)

(23566)

Indexed As: R. v. Power (E.)

Supreme Court of Canada

La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka,

Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin

and Major, JJ.

April 14, 1994.

Summary:

The accused was charged with impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. The trial judge held that the accused's right to counsel under s. 10(b) of the Charter was denied where the accused was not advised of the specific charges against him. The trial judge excluded the breathalyzer certificate evidence under s. 24(2). The Crown elected not to call further available evidence of impairment and the trial judge directed the jury to return a verdict of acquittal. The Crown appealed.

The Newfoundland Court of Appeal, Goodridge, C.J.N., dissenting, in a judgment reported 104 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 271; 331 A.P.R. 271, dismissed the appeal. The court held that the accused's right to counsel was not denied, but the Crown's election not to proceed with the trial by calling other avail­able evidence that could have led to a guilty verdict precluded the Crown from appealing on the ground of abuse of process. The Crown appealed, claiming the Court of Appeal erred in not ordering a new trial.

The Supreme Court of Canada, Sopinka, Cory and Major, JJ., dissenting, allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. There was no abuse of process. The Court of Appeal had no discretion under s. 686(4) of the Criminal Code, absent abuse of process, to refuse to allow an appeal when a reversible error of law was found.

Criminal Law - Topic 22

Prosecution of crime - Function of Crown prosecutor and Attorney General - Prose­cutorial discretion - Review of - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "courts should not interfere with prosecu­torial discretion. This appears clearly to stem from the respect of separation of powers and the rule of law." - A Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to dismiss an appeal, notwithstanding an error at trial, on the ground that the prosecutor, after critical evidence was excluded, exercised his prosecutorial discretion by deliberately refraining from calling other available evidence, leading to a directed verdict of acquittal - See paragraph 31.

Criminal Law - Topic 253

Abuse of process - What constitutes - The accused was charged with impaired driving causing death and bodily harm - The breathalyzer certificate was excluded from evidence under s. 24(2) of the Charter where the accused's right to counsel was denied - The Crown elected not to call further evidence of impairment which could have resulted in a guilty verdict - The trial judge directed a verdict of not guilty - The Crown appealed - The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in excluding the evidence, but it would be an abuse of process to allow the appeal and order a new trial where the Crown failed to call further evidence and proceed with the trial after the adverse ruling on the certificate evidence - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that there was no abuse of process - The Court of Appeal had no discretion under s. 686(4) of the Criminal Code, absent abuse of process, to decline to allow an appeal and order a new trial where the trial judge committed a reversi­ble error of law - See paragraphs 8 to 51.

Criminal Law - Topic 253

Abuse of process - What constitutes - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "in criminal cases, courts have a residual discretion to remedy an abuse of the court's process but only in the 'clearest of cases', which, in my view, amounts to conduct which shocks the conscience of the community and is so detrimental to the proper administration of justice that it warrants judicial intervention. ... courts should be careful before they attempt to 'second-guess' the prosecutor's motives when he or she makes a decision. Where there is conspicuous evidence of improper motives or bad faith or of an act so wrong that it violates the conscience of the com­munity, such that it would genuinely be unfair and indecent to proceed, then, and only then, should courts intervene to pre­vent an abuse of process which could bring the administration of justice into disrepute. Cases of this nature will be extremely rare." - See paragraphs 13 to 14.

Criminal Law - Topic 4958

Appeals - Indictable offences - New trials - Grounds for refusing - Abuse of process - [See first Criminal Law - Topic 253 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 4966

Appeals - Indictable offences - Powers of Court of Appeal - General - [See first Criminal Law - Topic 253 ].

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Leroux (1928), 50 C.C.C. 52 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 8].

R. v. Bell (1929), 51 C.C.C. 388 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 8].

R. v. Leclair (1956), 115 C.C.C. 297 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 8].

R. v. Osborn, [1969] 4 C.C.C. 185 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 9].

Connelly v. Director of Public Prosecu­tions, [1964] 2 All E.R. 401 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 9].

R. v. Osborn, [1971] S.C.R. 184, refd to. [para. 9].

R. v. Rourke, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 1021; 16 N.R. 181, refd to. [para. 10].

Director of Public Prosecutions v. Hum­phrys, [1976] 2 All E.R. 497 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Erven, [1979] 1 S.C.R. 926; 25 N.R. 49; 30 N.S.R.(2d) 89; 49 A.P.R. 89; 44 C.C.C.(2d) 76, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Krannenburg, [1980] 1 S.C.R. 1053; 31 N.R. 206; 20 A.R. 504, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Amato, [1982] 2 S.C.R. 418; 42 N.R. 487, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Lebrun (1978), 7 C.R.(3d) 93 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 10].

Ball v. R. (1978), 44 C.C.C.(2d) 532 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 10].

Abarca v. R. (1980), 57 C.C.C.(2d) 410 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Young (1984), 3 O.A.C. 254; 40 C.R.(3d) 289 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Jewitt, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 128; 61 N.R. 159; [1985] 6 W.W.R. 127; 21 C.C.C.(3d) 7; 20 D.L.R.(4th) 651; 47 C.R.(3d) 193, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Keyowski, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 657; 83 N.R. 296; 65 Sask.R. 122; 32 C.R.R. 269; 40 C.C.C.(3d) 481; 62 C.R.(3d) 349; [1988] 4 W.W.R. 97, refd to. [paras. 11, 78].

R. v. Mack, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 903; 90 N.R. 173; [1989] 1 W.W.R. 577; 44 C.C.C.(3d) 513; 67 C.R.(3d) 1, refd to. [paras. 11, 75].

R. v. Conway, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1659; 96 N.R. 241; 34 O.A.C. 165; 49 C.C.C.(3d) 289; 70 C.R.(3d) 209, refd to. [para. 11].

R. v. Scott, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 979; 116 N.R. 361; 43 O.A.C. 277, refd to. [para. 12].

R. v. Potvin (R.), [1993] 2 S.C.R. 880; 155 N.R. 241; 66 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [paras. 12, 84].

R. v. Vézeau, [1977] 2 S.C.R. 277; 8 N.R. 235, refd to. [paras. 23, 82].

R. v. Banas (1982), 65 C.C.C.(2d) 224 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [paras. 24, 73].

R. v. Voykin (1986), 71 A.R. 241; 29 C.C.C.(3d) 280 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 24, 73].

R. v. Bailey (1983), 4 C.C.C.(3d) 21 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [paras. 24, 75].

R. v. Whittle (D.J.) (1992), 59 O.A.C. 218; 78 C.C.C.(3d) 49 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 24, 91].

Fraser v. Public Service Staff Relations Board, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 455; 63 N.R. 161; 23 D.L.R.(4th) 122, refd to. [para. 31].

Sobeys Stores Ltd. v. Yeomans and Labour Standards Tribunal (N.S.) et al., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 238; 92 N.R. 179; 90 N.S.R.(2d) 271; 230 A.P.R. 271, refd to. [para. 31].

Beauregard v. Canada, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 56; 70 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 31].

Douglas/Kwantlen Faculty Association v. Douglas College, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 570; 118 N.R. 340, refd to. [para. 31].

Balderstone v. R. et al. (1983), 23 Man.R.(2d) 125; 8 C.C.C.(3d) 532 (C.A.), leave to appeal dismissed [1983] 2 S.C.R. v; 52 N.R. 72; 27 Man.R.(2d) 240, refd to. [para. 37].

R. v. Beare; R. v. Higgins, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 387; 88 N.R. 205; 71 Sask.R. 1; 45 C.C.C.(3d) 57; [1989] 1 W.W.R. 97; 66 C.R.(3d) 97, refd to. [para. 38].

United States of America v. Cotroni; United States of America v. El Zein, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1469; 96 N.R. 321; 23 Q.A.C. 182, refd to. [para. 38].

R. v. Lyons, [1987] 2 S.C.R. 309; 80 N.R. 161; 82 N.S.R.(2d) 271; 207 A.P.R. 271; 37 C.C.C.(3d) 1, refd to. [para. 38].

R. v. Verrette, [1978] 2 S.C.R. 838; 21 N.R. 571, refd to. [para. 38].

Smythe v. R., [1971] S.C.R. 680, refd to. [para. 38].

R. v. V.T., [1992] 1 S.C.R. 749; 134 N.R. 289; 7 B.C.A.C. 81; 15 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 39].

United States v. Redondo-Lemos (1992), 955 F.2d 1296 (9th Circuit), refd to. [para. 42].

United States v. Giannattasio (1992), 979 F.2d 98 (7th Circuit), refd to. [para. 43].

R. v. Welch, [1950] S.C.R. 412, refd to. [para. 45].

R. v. Caccamo, [1976] 1 S.C.R. 786; 4 N.R. 133, refd to. [para. 50].

Patterson v. R., [1970] S.C.R. 409, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. Smith (N.M.), [1991] 1 S.C.R. 714; 122 N.R. 203; 104 N.S.R.(2d) 233; 283 A.P.R. 233; 63 C.C.C.(3d) 313, refd to. [para. 71].

White v. R., [1947] S.C.R. 268, refd to. [para. 82].

Paquette v. R. (1974), 19 C.C.C.(2d) 154 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 83].

R. v. Morin, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 345; 88 N.R. 161; 30 O.A.C. 81; 44 C.C.C.(3d) 193, refd to. [para. 83].

R. v. Collins (M.E.) and Pelfrey (W.D.) (1993), 60 O.A.C. 81; 79 C.C.C.(3d) 204 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 85].

R. v. Monteleone, [1987] 2 S.C.R. 154; 78 N.R. 377; 23 O.A.C. 241; 35 C.C.C.(3d) 193, refd to. [para. 95].

R. v. Smith (K.M.) (1992), 131 A.R. 59; 25 W.A.C. 59; 73 C.C.C.(3d) 285 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 97].

R. v. Andres, [1982] 2 W.W.R. 249; 1 Sask.R. 96 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 97].

R. v. Graat, [1982] 2 S.C.R. 819; 45 N.R. 451, refd to. [para. 97].

R. v. Dubois (1990), 37 Q.A.C. 75; 62 C.C.C.(3d) 90 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 97].

R. v. Kucher (1979), 16 A.R. 494; 48 C.C.C.(2d) 115 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 97].

R. v. Pinske (1988), 30 B.C.L.R.(2d) 114 (C.A.), affd. [1989] 2 S.C.R. 979; 100 N.R. 399, refd to. [para. 98].

R. v. Morin, [1992] 1 S.C.R. 771; 134 N.R. 321; 53 O.A.C. 241; 71 C.C.C.(3d) 1, refd to. [para. 101].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 10(a) [para. 67]; sect. 10(b) [paras. 5, 67]; sect. 24(2) [paras. 68, 70].

Constitution Act, 1867, generally [para. 31].

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 255(2), sect. 255(3) [para. 95]; sect. 676(1)(a) [para. 81]; sect. 686(1)(b)(iii) [paras. 81, 82]; sect. 686(4) [paras. 4, 80].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Frase, Richard S., The Decision to File Federal Criminal Charges: A Quantita­tive Study of Prosecutorial Discretion (1980), 47 U. Chi. L. Rev. 246, p. 297 [para. 41].

Garant, Patrice, Droit administratif (3rd Ed. 1991), vol. 2, generally [para. 31].

Hébert, Jean-Claude, Le contrôle judiciaire de certains pouvoirs de la couronne, in Droit pénal - Orientations nouvelles (1987), pp. 136, 137 [para. 31].

Hogg, Peter W., Constitutional Law of Canada (3rd Ed. 1992), pp. 184, 185 [para. 31].

Lezak, Sidney I. and Maureen Leonard, The Prosecutor's Discretion: Out of the Closet -- Not Out of Control (1984), 63 Oregon L. Rev. 247, p. 251 [para. 44].

Morgan, Donna C., Controlling Prosecu­torial Powers - Judicial Review, Abuse of Process and Section 7 of the Charter (1986-87), 29 Crim. L.Q. 15, pp. 18, 19 [para. 33]; 20, 21 [para. 32].

Pépin, Gilles, La compétence des tribunaux administratifs de décider de la constitu­tionnalité d'une loi, notamment de sa compatibilité avec la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés, in Canadian Bar Association - Continuing Legal Educa­tion Seminar on Administrative Law, Canadian Administrative Law: Past Present and Future Where We've Been (1989), generally [para. 31].

Ramsay, J.A., Prosecutorial Discretion: A Reply to David Vanek (1987-88), 30 Crim. L.Q. 378, pp. 378 to 380 [para. 35].

Reiss, Steven Alan, Prosecutorial Intent in Constitutional Criminal Procedure (1987), 135 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1365, p. 1373 [para. 40].

Temby, Ian, Q.C., Prosecution Discretions and the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1983 (1985), 59 Aust. L.J. 197, pp. 197, 199, 200, 202 [para. 44].

Vanek, David, Prosecutorial Discretion (1987-88), 30 Crim. L.Q. 219, p. 219 [para. 34].

Counsel:

Wayne Gorman, for the appellant;

David Orr, for the respondent.

Solicitors of Record:

Department of Justice, St. John's, New­foundland, for the appellant;

Noonan, Oakley, Orr, St. John's, New­foundland, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on December 3, 1993, before La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin and Major, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On April 14, 1994, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada was delivered in both official languages and the following opinions were filed:

L'Heureux-Dubé, J. (La Forest, Gonthier and McLachlin, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 62;

Sopinka, J. (Cory and Major, JJ., con­curring), dissenting - see paragraphs 63 to 104.

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