R. v. Robinson (D.), (1996) 194 N.R. 181 (SCC)

JudgeLamer, C.J.C., La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateMarch 21, 1996
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1996), 194 N.R. 181 (SCC);194 NR 181;[1996] 4 WWR 609;72 BCAC 161;46 CR (4th) 1;1996 CanLII 233 (SCC);34 CRR (2d) 205;JE 96-670;30 WCB (2d) 206;[1996] 1 SCR 683;133 DLR (4th) 42;[1996] SCJ No 32 (QL);105 CCC (3d) 97;[1996] ACS no 32

R. v. Robinson (D.) (1996), 194 N.R. 181 (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. Donald Robinson (respondent)

(24302)

Indexed As: R. v. Robinson (D.)

Supreme Court of Canada

Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ.

March 21, 1996.

Summary:

The accused was convicted of second degree murder. The accused appealed, pri­marily on the ground that the trial judge misdirected the jury on the use of evidence of intoxication as it related to the requisite intent for murder.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal, Rowles, J.A., dissenting, in a judgment re­ported 48 B.C.A.C. 161; 78 W.A.C. 161, al­lowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. The Crown appealed. At issue was whether the Supreme Court of Canada should over­rule a previous decision adopting the rule in Director of Public Prosecutions v. Beard that intoxication was to be considered by a jury only in cases where its effect was to render the accused incapable of forming the requi­site intent.

The Supreme Court of Canada, L'Heureux-Dubé, J., dissenting, dismissed the appeal. The court abolished the rule in Director of Public Prosecutions v. Beard (adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. MacAskill) on the relationship between drunkenness and intent in specific intent offences.

Civil Rights - Topic 4943

Presumption of innocence - Evidence and proof - Burden of proof in criminal and quasi-criminal cases - [See Civil Rights - Topic 4949 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 4949

Presumption of innocence - Evidence and proof - Removal of element of intent - The rule in Director of Public Prosecutions v. Beard (adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada in MacAskill) provided that drunkenness was only a defence to a spe­cific intent offence such as murder if it resulted in the accused having no capacity to form the requisite intent - If the evi­dence of drunkenness fell short of estab­lishing a lack of capacity, drunkenness could not be considered in assessing whether the accused, in fact, had the requisite intent - The Supreme Court of Canada abolished the rule, as it violated ss. 7 and 11(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and was not a reasonable limit prescribed by law (s. 1) - Under the rule "if the jury is satisfied that the ac­cused's voluntary intoxication did not render the accused incapable of forming the intent, then they would be compelled to convict despite the fact that the evi­dence raised a reasonable doubt as to whether the accused possessed the requi­site intent" - See paragraphs 40 to 46.

Civil Rights - Topic 8348

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Exceptions - Reasonable limits prescribed by law - [See Civil Rights - Topic 4949 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8546

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Interpretation - Life, liberty and security of the person - [See Civil Rights - Topic 4949 ].

Courts - Topic 79

Stare decisis - Authority of judicial deci­sions - Prior decisions of same court - Supreme Court of Canada - The Supreme Court of Canada, in overruling a prior decision on the Beard rules of intoxi­cation, stated that it was clear that the court had jurisdiction to overrule its own decisions, but that "there must be com­pelling circumstances to justify departure from a prior decision" - See paragraph 16.

Criminal Law - Topic 1265

Murder - Jury charge - The British Columbia Court of Appeal held that a trial judge erred in his jury charge by not clearly distinguishing between the two intents for murder (Criminal Code, ss. 229(a)(i) and 229(a)(ii)) - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the trial judge correctly distinguished the two intents at some points, but also misstated or blurred the distinction at other points - The court stated that while the jury charge on this issue contained some errors and lapses, the court would not order a new trial on this ground alone - See paragraphs 66 to 69.

Criminal Law - Topic 1299

Murder - Defences - Jury charge (re intent and drunkenness) - The rule in Director of Public Prosecutions v. Beard (adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada in MacAskill) provided that drunkenness was only a defence to a specific intent offence such as murder if it resulted in the accused having no capacity to form the requisite intent - If the evidence of drunkenness fell short of establishing a lack of capacity, drunkenness could not be considered in assessing whether the ac­cused, in fact, had the requisite intent - The Supreme Court of Canada overruled MacAskill on the basis of (1) a series of dissenting opinions by two former Chief Justices; (2) the fact that no provincial appellate court was following MacAskill; (3) the rule violated ss. 7 and 11(d) of the Charter and was not a reasonable limit prescribed by law (s. 1); (4) England, Australia and New Zealand had all abandoned the rule; and (5) the unanimity of academic opposition to MacAskill - See paragraphs 1 to 46.

Criminal Law - Topic 1299

Murder - Defences - Jury charge (re intent and drunkenness) - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that a jury was not to be charged on drunkenness unless "its effect might have impaired the accused's foresight of consequences sufficient to raise a reasonable doubt" - If the thresh­old was passed, the jury was to be in­struct­ed that the issue was "whether the Crown has satisfied them beyond a rea­sonable doubt that the accused had the requi­site intent" - The jury charge was to focus on "intent in fact", with no reference to "capacity" or "capability" - The court ac­knowledged that reference to "capacity" as part of a two-step charge was appro­priate in some circumstances - If the two-step charge was used, the issue then be­came whether there was a reasonable pos­si­bility that the jury may have been misled into believing that the determi­nation of capacity was the only relevant inquiry (i.e., that the jury not believe that if the accused had capacity he must have formed the intent) - See paragraphs 47 to 54.

Criminal Law - Topic 4356

Procedure - Jury charge - Directions regarding intent or mens rea - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that it was incorrect to use "the term presumption in discussing the common sense inference that a sane and sober person intends the natural consequences of his or her actions" - The court stated that "where there is some evidence of intoxication, a trial judge must link his or her instructions on intoxication with the instruction on the common sense inference so that the jury is specifically instructed that evidence of intoxication can rebut the inference" - The trial judge's failure to so link the common sense inference with the evidence of the accused's intoxication constituted rever­sible error - See paragraphs 61 to 65.

Criminal Law - Topic 4356

Procedure - Jury charge - Directions regarding intent or mens rea - [See both Criminal Law - Topic 1299 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 4357

Procedure - Jury charge - Directions regarding defences and theory of the defence - Intoxication - [See both Criminal Law - Topic 1299 ].

Cases Noticed:

Director of Public Prosecutions v. Beard, [1920] A.C. 479 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 1].

R. v. MacAskill, [1931] S.C.R. 330, over­ruled [para. 1].

Reniger v. Fogassa (1551), 1 Plowden 1; 75 E.R. 1 (Ex.), refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Doherty (1887), 16 Cox C.C. 306, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Meade, [1909] 1 K.B. 895, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Malanik (No. 2), [1952] 2 S.C.R. 335, refd to. [para. 13].

Bradley v. R., [1956] S.C.R. 723, refd to. [para. 14].

R. v. Mulligan, [1977] 1 S.C.R. 612; 9 N.R. 27, refd to. [para. 14].

R. v. Giannotti (1956), 115 C.C.C. 203 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 14].

Latour v. R., [1951] S.C.R. 19, refd to. [para. 15].

Capson v. R., [1953] 1 S.C.R. 44, refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. George, [1960] S.C.R. 871, refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Leary, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 29; 13 N.R. 592, refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Alward and Mooney, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 559; 16 N.R. 127; 18 N.B.R.(2d) 97; 26 A.P.R. 97, refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Swietlinski, [1980] 2 S.C.R. 956; 34 N.R. 569, refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Bernard, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 833; 90 N.R. 321; 32 O.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 15].

Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development v. Ranville et al., [1982] 2 S.C.R. 518; 44 N.R. 616, refd to. [para. 16].

R. v. K.G.B., [1993] 1 S.C.R. 740; 148 N.R. 241; 61 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 16].

Perrault v. R., [1971] S.C.R. 196, refd to. [para. 19].

R. v. Vasil, [1981] 1 S.C.R. 469; 35 N.R. 451, refd to. [para. 24].

R. v. Young, [1981] 2 S.C.R. 39; 36 N.R. 463, refd to. [para. 25].

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. 26].

R. v. Dees (1978), 40 C.C.C.(2d) 58 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. MacKinlay (1986), 15 O.A.C. 241; 28 C.C.C.(3d) 306 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 29].

R. v. Dumais (A.V.) (1993), 116 Sask.R. 217; 59 W.A.C. 217; 87 C.C.C.(3d) 281 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 30].

R. v. Crane (P.) (1993), 85 Man.R.(2d) 144; 41 W.A.C. 144; 81 C.C.C.(3d) 276 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 30].

R. v. Ivany (D.F.) (1991), 89 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 13; 278 A.P.R. 13 (Nfld. C.A.), refd to. [para. 30].

R. v. Allen (B.H.) (1994), 120 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 188; 373 A.P.R. 188 (Nfld. C.A.), refd to. [para. 30].

R. v. Neaves (1992), 114 N.S.R.(2d) 24; 313 A.P.R. 24; 75 C.C.C.(3d) 201 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 30].

R. v. Korzepa (1991), 64 C.C.C.(3d) 489 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 32].

R. v. Canute (S.F.) (1993), 25 B.C.A.C. 277; 43 W.A.C. 277; 80 C.C.C.(3d) 403 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 32].

R. v. Cormier (R.) (1993), 59 Q.A.C. 1; 86 C.C.C.(3d) 163 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 32].

R. v. Larose (R.) (1993), 25 B.C.A.C. 264; 43 W.A.C. 264 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 33].

R. v. Smoke, [1993] A.J. No. 758 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 33].

R. v. Laisa (N.), [1993] N.W.T.R. 199 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1994] 1 S.C.R. viii; 168 N.R. 15, refd to. [para. 33].

R. v. Sheenan and Moore (1975), 60 Cr. App. Rep. 308 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 35].

R. v. Pordage, [1975] Crim. L.R. 575 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 36].

R. v. Garlick (1980), 72 Cr. App. Rep. 291, refd to. [para. 36].

R. v. Davies, [1991] Crim. L.R. 469 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 36].

R. v. Kamipeli, [1975] 2 N.Z.L.R. 610 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 37].

R. v. Hart, [1986] 2 N.Z.L.R. 408 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 37].

R. v. Tihi, [1990] 1 N.Z.L.R. 540 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 37].

Viro v. R. (1978), 141 C.L.R. 88 (Aust. H.C.), refd to. [para. 38].

R. v. Vaillancourt, [1987] 2 S.C.R. 636; 81 N.R. 115; 10 Q.A.C. 161; 68 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 281; 209 A.P.R. 281; 60 C.R.(3d) 289, refd to. [para. 40].

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103; 65 N.R. 87; 14 O.A.C. 335; 26 D.L.R.(4th) 200; 50 C.R.(3d) 1; 24 C.C.C.(3d) 321; 19 C.R.R. 308, refd to. [para. 42].

Dolphin Delivery Ltd. v. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 580, Peterson and Alexander, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 573; 71 N.R. 83; 33 D.L.R.(4th) 174; 38 C.C.L.T. 184; 25 C.R.R. 321; [1987] 1 W.W.R. 577; 87 C.L.L.C. 14,002, refd to. [para. 47].

Cloutier v. Langlois and Bédard, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 158; 105 N.R. 241; 30 Q.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 47].

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Dagenais et al., [1994] 3 S.C.R. 835; 175 N.R. 1; 76 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Clow (1985), 44 C.R.(3d) 228 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 59].

R. v. Desveaux (1986), 13 O.A.C. 1; 51 C.R.(3d) 173 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 59].

R. v. Nealy (1986), 17 O.A.C. 164; 54 C.R.(3d) 158 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 59].

R. v. Daviault (H.), [1994] 3 S.C.R. 63; 173 N.R. 1; 64 Q.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 75].

R. v. O'Connor (H.P.), [1995] 4 S.C.R. 411; 191 N.R. 1; 68 B.C.A.C. 1; 112 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 80].

R. v. Thomsen, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 640; 84 N.R. 347; 27 O.A.C. 85; 63 C.R.(3d) 1; 40 C.C.C.(3d) 411; 4 M.V.R.(2d) 185; 32 C.R.R. 257, refd to. [para. 85].

R. v. Swain, [1992] 1 S.C.R. 933; 125 N.R. 1; 47 O.A.C. 81; 63 C.C.C.(3d) 481, refd to. [para. 85].

Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto and Manning, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 1130; 184 N.R. 1; 84 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 85].

R. v. Pappajohn, [1980] 2 S.C.R. 120; 32 N.R. 104; 14 C.R.(3d) 243; [1980] 4 W.W.R. 387; 111 D.L.R.(3d) 1; 52 C.C.C.(2d) 481, refd to. [para. 91].

R. v. Osolin, [1993] 4 S.C.R. 595; 162 N.R. 1; 38 B.C.A.C. 81; 62 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 91].

R. v. Park (D.G.), [1995] 2 S.C.R. 836; 183 N.R. 81; 169 A.R. 241; 97 W.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 91].

R. v. Marquard (D.), [1993] 4 S.C.R. 223; 159 N.R. 81; 66 O.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 94].

R. v. Brydon, [1995] 4 S.C.R. 253; 188 N.R. 321; 65 B.C.A.C. 81; 106 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 94].

R. v. Crawford (1970), 1 C.C.C.(2d) 515 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 98].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Berner, S.H., The Defense of Drunkenness -- A Reconsideration (1971), 6 U.B.C.L.R. 309, pp. 324 to 330 [para. 39]; 328, 329 [para. 20].

Colvin, Eric, A Theory of the Intoxication Defence (1981), 59 Can. Bar Rev. 750, pp. 773 to 777 [para. 39].

Colvin, Eric, Codification and Reform of the Intoxication Defence (1983), 26 Crim. L.Q. 43, pp. 50 to 52 [para. 39].

Colvin, Eric, Principles of Criminal Law (1st Ed. 1986), p. 262 [para. 39].

Gold, Alan D., An Untrimmed "Beard": The Law of Intoxication as a Defence to a Criminal Charge (1976), 19 Crim. L.Q. 34, pp. 39, fn. 19 [para. 101]; 40 to 51 [para. 39].

Healy, Patrick, R. v. Bernard: Difficulties with Voluntary Intoxication (1990), 35 McGill L.J. 610, pp. 615 to 618 [para. 39].

Quigley, A Shorn Beard (1986-87), 10 Dal. L.J. 167, generally [para. 10].

Smith, J.C., and Hogan, Brian, Criminal Law (7th Ed. 1992), pp. 221 to 223 [para. 36].

Stuart, Don, Canadian Criminal Law (3rd Ed. 1995), pp. 393 [paras. 39, 40]; 394 [para. 39].

Williams, Glanville, Textbook of Criminal Law (2nd Ed. 1983), p. 468 [para. 36].

Counsel:

William F. Ehrcke, for the appellant;

G.D. McKinnon, Q.C., for the respondent.

Solicitors of Record:

The Attorney General of British Columbia, Vancovuer, British Columbia, for the appellant;

Gil D. McKinnon, Vancouver, British Colum­bia, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on December 7, 1995, before Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On March 21, 1996, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada was delivered in both official languages and the following opinions were filed:

Lamer, C.J.C. (La Forest, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 71;

L'Heureux-Dubé, J., dissenting - see paragraphs 72 to 109.

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