R. v. S.J.L.-G. et al., (2009) 386 N.R. 1 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, C.J.C., LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron and Rothstein, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateMarch 27, 2009
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2009), 386 N.R. 1 (SCC);2009 SCC 14;64 CR (6th) 240;[2009] 1 SCR 426;203 CRR (2d) 25;386 NR 1;[2009] SCJ No 14 (QL);JE 2009-630;305 DLR (4th) 1;242 CCC (3d) 297;82 WCB (2d) 737;[2009] CarswellQue 2298;EYB 2009-156451

R. v. S.J.L.-G. (2009), 386 N.R. 1 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

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

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

Temp. Cite: [2009] N.R. TBEd. MR.021

Her Majesty The Queen (appellant) v. S.J.L.-G. and L.V.-P. (respondents) and Attorney General of Ontario, Attorney General of Manitoba, Director of Public Prosecutions of Canada and Association des avocats de la défense de Montréal (intervenors)

(32309; 2009 SCC 14; 2009 CSC 14)

Indexed As: R. v. S.J.L.-G. et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

McLachlin, C.J.C., LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron and Rothstein, JJ.

March 27, 2009.

Summary:

Two young persons (aged 16 and 17) and 16 adults were arrested following an investigation into drug trafficking by a criminal organization. The Crown moved for a preliminary inquiry for all of the accused (young persons and adults) under s. 537(1)(f) of the Criminal Code. That motion was dismissed. The Crown then preferred a direct indictment against all of the accused under s. 577. The young persons moved to quash the direct indictment. That motion was granted. The Crown appealed.

The Quebec Court of Appeal, in a judgment reported 2007 QCCA 1201, dismissed the appeal. The court ruled that (1) the Crown could not prefer a direct indictment against young persons and (2) young persons could not be tried jointly with adults. The Crown appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, Abella and Fish, JJ., dissenting in part, allowed the appeal in part. The court held that the Crown could prefer a direct indictment against young persons, but affirmed that young persons and adults could not be tried jointly.

Editor's Note: Certain names in the following case have been initialized or the case otherwise edited to prevent the disclosure of identities where required by law, publication ban, Maritime Law Book's editorial policy or otherwise.

Criminal Law - Topic 3500

Preliminary inquiry - General principles - Nature and purpose of preliminary inquiry - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "the preliminary inquiry is a screening mechanism for the purpose of determining whether the Crown has sufficient evidence to commit the accused to trial: However, there is no constitutional right to a preliminary inquiry or the outcome of such an inquiry. ... The principle of fundamental justice, ..., according to which young persons are entitled to a presumption of diminished moral blameworthiness has no bearing on the right to a preliminary inquiry. That is not the stage at which the guilt of the accused or the appropriate sanction is determined. Dispensing with the screening process does not result in a deprivation of fundamental justice, since the accused continues to be presumed innocent and retains the right to make full answer and defence. ... although the preliminary inquiry may also allow an accused to test the credibility of witnesses and better appreciate the Crown's evidence ... such incidental benefits do not give rise to a constitutional right to this proceeding ... an accused has had a right under the Constitution to the disclosure of all relevant information that is distinct from the right to a preliminary inquiry. ... Consequently, the incidental function of the preliminary inquiry as a discovery mechanism has lost much of its relevance. ... I am not persuaded that Parliament could have considered the right to a preliminary inquiry to be a benefit in the particular case of young persons. ... it is revealing that prosecution by way of summary conviction, which does not involve a preliminary inquiry, is the general rule for young persons ... If Parliament had regarded the preliminary inquiry as an additional and special procedural guarantee that benefited young persons, it would surely not have provided, as a general rule ... for a procedure that does not include this 'benefit'." - See paragraphs 21 to 25.

Criminal Law - Topic 4262

Procedure - Indictment - Preferring of indictments - [See both Criminal Law - Topic 8716.4 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 4482

Procedure - Trial - Joint or separate trials of two or more persons - [See Criminal Law - Topic 8704.8 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 8704.8

Young offenders - General principles - Jurisdiction - Joint trials with adults - Nothing in the common law or Criminal Code barred either the joinder of young persons and adults in a single indictment or a request for a joint trial - At issue was "whether as a result of the creation of a separate youth criminal justice system, the common law rule is inapplicable and such joinders are accordingly inconsistent with the procedures that must be followed in cases involving young persons" - The Supreme Court of Canada held that co-accused young persons and adults could not be tried jointly, stating that "the history of the separate youth criminal justice system, the abolition of the transfer to adult court, the content of s. 67(5) and (7.1) of the [Youth Criminal Justice Act], and the fact that neither the YCJA nor the Criminal Code contains specific provisions authorizing joint trials of adult and young persons are indications that Parliament intended to prohibit such trials. What is more, the adoption of this solution will make it easier for the youth criminal justice system to perform its special role and will avert the practical difficulties inherent in a joint trial of young persons and adults." - See paragraphs 43 to 76.

Criminal Law - Topic 8714.2

Young offenders - General principles - Right to preliminary inquiry - [See Criminal Law - Topic 3500 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 8716.4

Young offenders - General principles - Procedure - Preferring direct indictments - Section 577 of the Criminal Code provided for the preferring of direct indictments, but the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) was silent on the matter - Section 536(4) provided that a preliminary inquiry, when requested by the accused or Crown, must be held unless the Crown preferred a direct indictment - Section 67(7) of the YCJA did not provide a similar reservation - The Supreme Court of Canada held that an direct indictment could be preferred against a young person - The absence of the reservation in s. 67(7) was not evidence that Parliament intended to preclude the preferring of direct indictments under the YCJA - A direct indictment was not inconsistent with the underlying principles of the YCJA - Whether a direct indictment should be preferred was at the Attorney General's discretion and the courts would intervene only for abuse of process - The court stated that "young persons do not generally have a right to a preliminary inquiry, and where, in an exceptional case, the right is conferred on a young person, the same principles apply as where it is conferred on an adult: the preliminary inquiry is optional, and is not available if the Crown prefers a direct indictment. ... preferring a direct indictment is consistent with the spirit of the YCJA. This procedure is unrelated to the young person's right to discovery and does not deprive him or her of any procedural guarantees. ... it could even be said that there will be cases in which a direct indictment will advance the objectives and principles of the YCJA. ... Although I conclude that the direct indictment is available, I should add that the process will sometimes have to be adjusted to ensure consistency with the objectives and principles of the YCJA. Any such adjustments will be among the modifications that the circumstances require that are provided for in s. 67(9) YCJA." - See paragraphs 7 to 42.

Criminal Law - Topic 8716.4

Young offenders - General principles - Procedure - Preferring direct indictments - The Supreme Court of Canada referred to the following reasons generally cited in support of the use of direct indictments: "1. delays in the trial could deprive the accused of the right to be tried within a reasonable time; 2. the physical or psychological health of witnesses, their age, their safety or that of their relatives, and the difficulties involved in having witnesses testify more than once; 3. preservation of the integrity of the Crown's evidence by, for example, protecting informants and ongoing police investigations; 4. a risk that evidence could be destroyed; 5. public safety reasons; 6. the need to avoid multiple proceedings caused, for example, by delays in making arrests; 7. the accused was wrongly discharged following the preliminary inquiry because of errors, or new evidence has been discovered; 8. a preliminary inquiry would be unreasonably costly, complex or long, or would be inappropriate because of the nature of the issues or the evidence; 9. the alleged offence is so controversial that it is in the public interest to try the case as quickly as possible; and 10. certain guidelines set out additional, broader criteria, such as the need to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice, the public interest, or the fact that the case is notorious or of particular importance to the public, that the direct indictment is the most appropriate procedure in the circumstances, or that there is a special need to expedite proceedings." - The court stated that "the reasons listed above are no less important where the accused is a young person" - See paragraphs 38 to 39.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. McKibbon, [1984] 1 S.C.R. 131; 52 N.R. 81; 3 O.A.C. 85, refd to. [para. 11].

Criminal Code, In re (1910), 43 S.C.R. 434, refd to. [para. 11].

R. v. Hynes (D.W.), [2001] 3 S.C.R. 623; 278 N.R. 299; 208 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 181; 624 A.P.R. 181; 2001 SCC 82, refd to. [paras. 21, 89].

R. v. Sazant (M.), [2004] 3 S.C.R. 635; 348 N.R. 1; 210 O.A.C. 376; 2004 SCC 77, refd to. [para. 21].

R. v. Ertel (1987), 20 O.A.C. 257; 58 C.R.(3d) 252; 35 C.C.C.(3d) 398 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1987] 2 S.C.R. vii; 86 N.R. 266; 24 O.A.C. 320, refd to. [para. 21].

R. v. Moore et al. (1986), 39 Man.R.(2d) 315; 26 C.C.C.(3d) 474 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 21].

R. v. D.B., [2008] 2 S.C.R. 3; 374 N.R. 221; 237 O.A.C. 110; 2008 SCC 25, refd to. [para. 21].

R. v. Skogman, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 93; 54 N.R. 34, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Arviv (1985), 8 O.A.C. 92; 51 O.R.(2d) 551 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1985] 1 S.C.R. v; 61 N.R. 237; 100 O.A.C. 158, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Sterling (R.), Sterling (L.) and Sterling (T.) (1993), 113 Sask.R. 81; 52 W.A.C. 81; 84 C.C.C.(3d) 65 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Stinchcombe, [1991] 3 S.C.R. 326; 130 N.R. 277; 120 A.R. 161; 8 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Egger (J.H.), [1993] 2 S.C.R. 451; 153 N.R. 272; 141 A.R. 81; 46 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 23].

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. 23].

R. v. La (H.K.) et al., [1997] 2 S.C.R. 680; 213 N.R. 1; 200 A.R. 81; 146 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Dixon (S.), [1998] 1 S.C.R. 244; 222 N.R. 243; 166 N.S.R.(2d) 241; 498 A.P.R. 241, refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Taillefer (B.), [2003] 3 S.C.R. 307; 313 N.R. 1; 2003 SCC 70, refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Khela (S.S.) and Dhillon (K.S.), [1995] 4 S.C.R. 201; 188 N.R. 355, refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. R.L. (1986), 14 O.A.C. 318; 52 C.R.(3d) 309; 26 C.C.C.(3d) 417 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 26].

R. v. G.K. (1986), 63 A.R. 379; 31 C.C.C.(3d) 81 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 26].

R. v. S.B. and H.B., [1989] 5 W.W.R. 621; 76 Sask.R. 308; 50 C.C.C.(3d) 34 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 26].

R. v. S.H.M., [1989] 2 S.C.R. 446; 100 N.R. 1; 100 A.R. 321, refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. J.T.J., Jr. (1986), 42 Man.R.(2d) 270; 27 C.C.C.(3d) 574 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. Kennedy, [1991] B.C.J. No. 3726 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. Pelletier (1998), 129 C.C.C.(3d) 65 (B.C. Prov. Ct.), refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. Chan (A.H.) et al. (2003), 334 A.R. 374; 172 C.C.C.(3d) 349 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. A.S., [1996] O.J. No. 188 (C.J. Prov. Div.), refd to. [para. 29].

R. v. R.V.B. (1994), 145 A.R. 384; 55 W.A.C. 384 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 33].

R. v. L.M. (1995), 34 C.R.R.(2d) 147 (Alta. Prov. Ct.), refd to. [para. 33].

R. v. J.W. (1989), 99 A.R. 257 (Prov. Ct.), refd to. [para. 33].

R. v. Phillips, [1983] 2 S.C.R. 161; 48 N.R. 372; 50 N.B.R.(2d) 81; 131 A.P.R. 81, refd to. [para. 48].

R. v. Clunas, [1992] 1 S.C.R. 595; 134 N.R. 268; 52 O.A.C. 130, refd to. [para. 48].

R. v. Creighton (D.J.) and Crawford (C.), [1995] 1 S.C.R. 858; 179 N.R. 161; 81 O.A.C. 359, refd to. [para. 49].

R. v. Chow (S.K.C.), [2005] 1 S.C.R. 384; 332 N.R. 275; 211 B.C.A.C. 31; 349 W.A.C. 31; 2005 SCC 24, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. X., 2007 QCCQ 2076, refd to. [para. 57].

R. v. Grant (1992), 52 O.A.C. 244 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 60].

R. v. L.T.H., [2008] 2 S.C.R. 739; 379 N.R. 247; 268 N.S.R.(2d) 200; 857 A.P.R. 200; 2008 SCC 49, refd to. [para. 64].

R. v. R.C., [2005] 3 S.C.R. 99; 340 N.R. 53; 237 N.S.R.(2d) 204; 754 A.P.R. 204; 2005 SCC 61, refd to. [para. 64].

R. v. D.A.Z., [1992] 2 S.C.R. 1025; 140 N.R. 327; 131 A.R. 1; 25 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 64].

R. v. J.M.J. (1999), 120 O.A.C. 294 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1999] 3 S.C.R. xi; 246 N.R. 200; 127 O.A.C. 399, refd to. [para. 67].

R. v. Smith (1975), 28 C.C.C.(2d) 368 (Man. C.A.), refd to. [para. 69].

R. v. E.S.R. and W.J.R. (1985), 36 Man.R.(2d) 276; 49 C.R.(3d) 88 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 69].

Protection de la jeunesse - 350, [1988] R.J.Q. 2395 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 69].

R. v. D.M. (1990), 46 O.A.C. 77 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 69].

R. v. J.E.L. (1987), 4 W.C.B.(2d) 97 (Alta. C.A.), refd to. [para. 69].

R. v. M.T., [1993] Y.J. No. 97 (Terr. Ct.), refd to. [para. 69].

R. v. C.D., [2005] 3 S.C.R. 668; 343 N.R. 1; 376 A.R. 258; 360 W.A.C. 258; 2005 SCC 78, refd to. [para. 100].

R. v. McIntosh (B.B.), [1995] 1 S.C.R. 686; 178 N.R. 161; 79 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 100].

Reference Re Young Offenders Act and Youth Court Judges, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 252; 121 N.R. 81; 89 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 91; 278 A.P.R. 91, refd to. [para. 101].

Statutes Noticed:

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 536(4) [para. 10]; sect. 577 [para. 8].

Youth Criminal Justice Act, S.C. 2002, c. 1, sect. 67(5) [para. 73]; sect. 67(7) [para. 7]; sect. 67(7.1) [para. 73]; sect. 67(9), sect. 140 [para. 13].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Bala, Nicholas, Young Offenders Law (1997), pp. 7 [paras. 65, 66]; 8, 9 [para. 66].

Bala, Nicholas, Youth Criminal Justice Law (2003), pp. 503 to 505 [para. 30]; 512 [para. 31]; 536 [para. 69].

Béliveau, Pierre, and Vauclair, Martin, Traité général de preuve et de procédure pénales (15th Ed. 2008), p. 662 [para. 59].

British Columbia (Attorney General), Justice Branch, Crown Counsel Policy Manual, Direct Indictment (November 22, 2004), online: http://www.llbc.leg.bc.ca/public/ Pub Docs/bcdocs/411866/Crown_Counsel_ policy_manual.pdf, generally [para. 38].

Canada, Department of Justice, A Strategy for the Renewal of Youth Justice (1998), pp. 25 to 27 [paras. 30, 68].

Canada, Department of Justice, Federal Prosecution Service Deskbook, Direct Indictments (2000), Part V, c. 17, online: http://www.ppsc-sppc.gc.ca/eng/fps-sfp/fpd/ch17.html, generally [para. 38].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates, vol. 137, 1st Sess., 37th Parliament (May 3, 2001), p. 3583 [para. 98].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates, vol. 137, 1st Sess., 37th Parliament (May 29, 2001), p. 4314 [para. 71].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates, Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, 2nd Sess., 37 Parliament (October 2, 2001) (online: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=652651&Language=E&Mode=&Parl=37&Ses=1), generally [para. 98].

Canada, Law Reform Commission, Controlling Criminal Prosecutions: The Attorney General and the Crown Prosecutor, Working Paper No. 62 (1990), pp. 91 [para. 38]; 92 [paras. 38, 39]; 93, 94, 95 [para. 39].

Canada, Solicitor General's Committee Report on Proposals for New Legislation to Replace the Juvenile Delinquents Act, Young Persons in Conflict with the Law (1975), p. 38 [para. 28].

Del Buono, Vincent M., Criminal Procedure in Canada (1982), pp. 319, 323, 324 [para. 38].

Elliott, D.W., Cut Throat Tactics: The Freedom of an Accused to Prejudice a Co-Accused, [1991] Crim. L. Rev. 5, p. 17 [para. 49].

Hansard - see Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates.

Harris, Peter J., and Bloomfeld, Miriam H., Youth Criminal Justice Act Manual (2003), vol. 2, Part 10, p. 10-6.1 [para. 64].

MacFarlane, Bruce, and Webster, Judith, Preferred Indictments in, Del Buono, Vincent M., Criminal Procedure in Canada (1982), pp. 319, 323, 324 [para. 38].

Manitoba, Department of Justice, Prosecutions, Crown Policy Manual, Policy Directive, Guideline No. 2:DIR:1, Direct Indictments (2008), generally [para. 38].

Martin, G. Arthur, and Irving, Joseph W., G. Arthur Martin: Essays on Aspects of Criminal Practice (1997), p. 78 [para. 23].

New Brunswick, Public Prosecutions, Public Prosecution Services Operational Manual, DPP Guideline 16, Direct Indictment (March 10, 2003), online: http://www.gnb. ca/0227/PPOM/PDF/Direct%20Indictments_DPP16.pdf, generally [para. 38].

Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Justice, Prosecutions Policy - Direct Indictments (October 1, 2007), online: http:// www.justice.gov.nl.ca/just/prosect/guidebook/019.pdf, generally [para. 38].

Ontario (Attorney General), Criminal Law Division, Practice Memorandum, Direct Indictments (September 28, 2005), generally [para. 38].

Ontario (Attorney General), No-More-Free-Ride for Young Offenders Act: Protecting the Public and Holding Young Offenders Accountable (2001), p. 7 [para. 71].

Platt, Priscilla, Young Offenders Law in Canada (2nd Ed. 1995), pp. 235, 236 [para. 64]; 283, 285, 286 [para. 69].

Pomerant, David, and Gilmour, Glenn, A Survey of the Preliminary Inquiry in Canada, Working Document (1993), pp. ix, 35, 36 [para. 23].

Québec, Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales, Directive no ACC-2, Accusation - Acte d'accusation direct et nouvelle dénonciation (2007) online: http://www. justice.gouv.qc.ca/FRANCAIS/themes/prof/juristes/pdf/ACC-2.pdf, generally [para. 38].

Quigley, Tim, Procedure in Canadian Criminal Law (2nd Ed. 2005), p. 17-17 [para. 60].

Saskatchewan, Department of Justice, Public Prosecutions, Policy Manual, Policy and Practice Directive DIRI, Direct indictments (1994), generally [para. 38].

Tustin, Lee, and Lutes, Robert E., A Guide to the Youth Criminal Justice Act (2005), p. 29 [para. 72].

Counsel:

Robert Rouleau, Sophie Delisle, Antoine Piché and Isabelle Bouchard, for the appellant;

Éric Coulombe, for the respondent, S.J.L.-G.;

Catherine Pilon and Marie-Pierre Blouin, for the respondent, L.V.-P.;

Christine Bartlett-Hughes, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Ontario;

A. Gerald Bowering, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Manitoba;

Michel F. Denis and Éric Marcoux, for the intervenor, Director of Public Prosecutions of Canada;

François Dadour, for the intervenor, Association des avocats de la défense de Montréal.

Solicitors of Record:

Poursuites criminelles et pénales du Québec, Québec, Quebec, for the appellant;

Pariseau Olivier, Montréal, Quebec, for the respondent, S.J.L.-G.;

Aide juridique de Longueuil, Longueuil, Quebec, for the respondent, L.V.-P.;

Attorney General of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Ontario;

Attorney General of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Manitoba;

Director of Public Prosecutions of Canada, Montréal, Quebec, for the intervenor, the Director of Public Prosecutions of Canada;

Poupart, Dadour et Associés, Montréal, Quebec, for the intervenor, Association des avocats de la défense de Montréal.

This appeal was heard on  December 16, 2008, before McLachlin, C.J.C., LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron and Rothstein, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On March 27, 2009, the judgment of the Court was delivered in both official languages and the following opinions were filed:

Deschamps, J. (McLachlin, C.J.C., LeBel, Charron and Rothstein, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 77;

Abella, J. (Fish, J., concurring), dissenting - see paragraphs 78 to 104.

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    ...161, 124 CCC (3d) 301, [1998] BCJ No 812 (CA) ..............................................................................648 R v SJL, 2009 SCC 14 ..........................................................................................580 R v SK (1995), 24 OR (3d) 199, 99 CCC (3d) 376, ......
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Criminal Procedure. Fourth Edition
    • June 23, 2020
    ...178, 181 R v Sitladeen, 2017 ONCJ 805 ............................................................................ 253 R v SJL, 2009 SCC 14 .................................................................. 390, 391, 486, 490 Table of Cases 655 R v Skalbania, [1997] 3 SCR 995, 120 CCC (3d) ......
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