R. v. Sarrazin (R.) et al., 2010 ONCA 577

JudgeDoherty, Moldaver and Epstein, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (Ontario)
Case DateApril 01, 2010
JurisdictionOntario
Citations2010 ONCA 577;(2010), 268 O.A.C. 200 (CA)

R. v. Sarrazin (R.) (2010), 268 O.A.C. 200 (CA)

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2010] O.A.C. TBEd. SE.012

Her Majesty the Queen (respondent) v. Robert Sarrazin (appellant) and Darlind Jean (appellant)

(C47693; C48209; 2010 ONCA 577)

Indexed As: R. v. Sarrazin (R.) et al.

Ontario Court of Appeal

Doherty, Moldaver and Epstein, JJ.A.

September 9, 2010.

Summary:

A shooting in February 1998, resulted in the victim's death a month later. The two accused (Sarrazin and Jean) were arrested within two weeks of the shooting and in June 2000 were convicted of second degree murder. Both were sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 18 years. The accused appealed.

The Ontario Court of Appeal, in a decision reported (2005), 196 O.A.C. 224, allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. After a second trial in November 2006, the accused were again convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 18 years. The accused appealed again. The appeals proceeded in March 2010, at which time, the accused had been in custody for over 12 years since their arrests in 1998. On appeal, the accused argued that the trial judge's instruction to the jury that it had to acquit if it had a reasonable doubt on the issue of causation was wrong in law and was prejudicial to the accused. They argued that the trial judge should have instructed the jury that it could convict the accused of attempted murder if it had a reasonable doubt as to the cause of the victim's death (i.e., doubt as to whether the victim's death was caused by consumption of cocaine shortly before his death rather than the shooting).

The Ontario Court of Appeal, Moldaver, J.A., dissenting, allowed the appeal, set aside the verdicts and ordered a third trial for both accused on the charge of second degree murder. The court was unanimously of the view that the trial judge erred in law in failing to leave a conviction for attempted murder as a possible verdict. Moldaver, J.A., opined that the error resulted in no substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice and would have dismissed the appeal. In the view of the majority, the curative proviso could not overcome the legal error and there had to be a new trial.

Criminal Law - Topic 1258

Offences against person and reputation - Attempted murder - Jury charge - Section 660 of the Criminal Code provided that "Where the complete commission of an offence charged is not proved but the evidence establishes an attempt to commit the offence, the accused may be convicted of the attempt" - The Ontario Court of Appeal (Doherty, J.A.) stated that "... as a matter of statutory interpretation, s. 660 applies to a charge of murder. Nothing in s. 662 detracts from the language of s. 660. Read together, ss. 660 and 662 (along with s. 661) put an accused on notice of the full extent of his or her potential liability on any particular charge. They also allow the trier of fact to determine that liability in a single proceeding. Although I base my conclusion that s. 660 applies to murder charges on the language of the relevant sections of the Criminal Code, my interpretation of s. 660 is further supported by practical and policy considerations. There is nothing problematic from a practical standpoint about allowing the jury to consider an accused's possible liability on a charge of attempted murder in the same proceeding in which it considers a murder charge. The different intents required for the offence of murder and attempted murder would have to be explained to the jury. However, this added complexity pales beside the level of complexity found in some instructions that are routinely given to juries. I am confident that a jury could properly address the different intents required for the crimes of murder and attempted murder" - See paragraphs 56 to 62.

Criminal Law - Topic 1258

Offences against person and reputation - Attempted murder - Jury charge - The Ontario Court of Appeal interpreted ss. 660 and 662 of the Criminal Code which dealt with cases where "Full offence charged, attempt proved" (s. 660) and "Offence charged, part only proved" (s. 662) - The court stated that "Nothing in the language of s. 662 addresses an accused's potential liability for attempting to commit the murder with which that accused is charged. Section 660 speaks directly to that potential liability. Nothing in s. 662 limits or qualifies the broad language of s. 660. Although both sections address the same issue - possible verdicts - they speak to different aspects of that issue. Section 660 directly addresses the accused's potential liability for an attempt to commit the offence with which the accused is charged. Section 662 speaks to liability for offences that are lesser and included in the offence with which the accused is charged either by virtue of the general language of s. 662(1) or the specific provisions of ss. 662(2)-(6)" - See paragraph 39.

Criminal Law - Topic 1258

Offences against person and reputation - Attempted murder - Jury charge - The victim was shot - He died from a blood clot a month later - The accused were convicted of second degree murder - The accused appealed, arguing that the trial judge should have instructed the jury that it could convict the accused of attempted murder if it had a reasonable doubt as to the cause of the victim's death (i.e., doubt as to whether the blood clot was caused by consumption of cocaine shortly before his death rather than the shooting) - The Crown argued that attempted murder was not an available verdict on a murder charge - The Ontario Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, holding that the trial judge erred in law in failing to leave with the jury a conviction for attempted murder as a possible verdict (Criminal Code, ss. 660 and 662) - There was a legitimate causation issue - The defence was not required to prove an intervening cause of death, but only to point to evidence that could raise a reasonable doubt - The evidence that the accused's cocaine ingestion shortly before his death was a possible cause of death provided an evidentiary basis for that reasonable doubt - If the jury had a doubt based on that evidence, a verdict of not guilty of murder, but guilty of attempted murder was a realistic possibility - The court declined to apply the proviso in s. 683(1)(b)(iii) of the Criminal Code respecting the trial judge's error and ordered a new trial - See paragraphs 20 to 63.

Criminal Law - Topic 1260.1

Offences against person and reputation - Murder - General principles - Causation - [See third Criminal Law - Topic 1258 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 1265.2

Offences against person and reputation - Murder - General principles - Jury charge - Second degree murder - [See third Criminal Law - Topic 1258 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 1265.3

Offences against person and reputation - Murder - General principles - Jury charge - Attempted murder - [See all Criminal Law - Topic 1258 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 1266

Offences against person and reputation - Murder - General principles - Jury charge - Included or alternative offences - [See all Criminal Law - Topic 1258 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 4355

Procedure - Charge or directions - Jury or judge alone - Directions regarding included offences - [See all Criminal Law - Topic 1258 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 4464

Procedure - Verdicts - Included offences - Inclusion in murder - [See all Criminal Law - Topic 1258 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 5045

Appeals - Indictable offences - Dismissal of appeal if no prejudice, substantial wrong or miscarriage results - What constitutes a substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice - The Ontario Court of Appeal discussed the application of the proviso in s. 683(1)(b)(iii) of the Criminal Code in a case where the trial judge at a murder trial failed to instruct the jury on the included offence of attempted murder - See paragraphs 64 to 172.

Criminal Law - Topic 5045

Appeals - Indictable offences - Dismissal of appeal if no prejudice, substantial wrong or miscarriage results - What constitutes a substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice - [See third Criminal Law - Topic 1258 ].

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Starr (R.D.), [2000] 2 S.C.R. 144; 258 N.R. 250; 148 Man.R.(2d) 161; 224 W.A.C. 161; 147 C.C.C.(3d) 449; 2000 SCC 40, refd to. [paras. 5, 111, footnote 14].

R. v. Khelawon (R.), [2006] 2 S.C.R. 787; 355 N.R. 267; 220 O.A.C. 338; 215 C.C.C.(3d) 161; 2006 SCC 57, refd to. [paras. 5, 111, footnotes 2, 14].

R. v. Nette (D.M.), [2001] 3 S.C.R. 488; 277 N.R. 301; 158 B.C.A.C. 98; 258 W.A.C. 98; 2001 SCC 78, refd to. [para. 20].

R. v. Ancio, [1984] 1 S.C.R. 225; 52 N.R. 161; 2 O.A.C. 124, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Poole (W.S.) (1997), 91 B.C.A.C. 279; 148 W.A.C. 279 (C.A.), not folld. [para. 24].

R. v. Chichak (1978), 8 A.R. 144; 38 C.C.C.(2d) 489 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 38].

R. v. Duncan (1984), 57 A.R. 362 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 42].

R. v. Talbot (T.) (2007), 220 O.A.C. 167; 217 C.C.C.(3d) 415 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 45].

R. v. Janeteas (P.) (2003), 167 O.A.C. 370; 172 C.C.C.(3d) 97 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 48].

R. v. G.R., [2005] 2 S.C.R. 371; 337 N.R. 1; 2005 SCC 45, refd to. [para. 49].

R. v. Luckett, [1980] 1 S.C.R. 1140; 30 N.R. 344, refd to. [para. 49, footnote 9].

R. v. Déry (J.), [2006] 2 S.C.R. 669; 354 N.R. 335; 2006 SCC 53, refd to. [para. 52].

R. v. Deutsch, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 2; 68 N.R. 321; 18 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. Gordon (M.A.) (2009), 246 O.A.C. 239; 94 O.R.(3d) 1 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 55].

R. v. Mahalingan (R.), [2008] 3 S.C.R. 316; 381 N.R. 199; 243 O.A.C. 199; 2008 SCC 63, refd to. [para. 61].

R. v. Hughes, [1942] S.C.R. 517, refd to. [para. 64].

R. v. George, [1960] S.C.R. 871, refd to. [para. 64].

R. v. Longson (1976), 31 C.C.C.(2d) 421 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 64].

R. v. De Champlain (1982), 68 C.C.C.(2d) 281 (Que. C.A.), refd to. [para. 64].

R. v. Davy - see R. v. Jackson and Davy.

R. v. Jackson and Davy (1991), 51 O.A.C. 92; 68 C.C.C.(3d) 385 (C.A.), affd. (1993), 162 N.R. 113; 68 O.A.C. 161; 86 C.C.C.(3d) 385 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 64].

R. v. Illes (M.), [2008] 3 S.C.R. 134; 380 N.R. 238; 260 B.C.A.C. 285; 439 W.A.C. 285; 2008 SCC 57, refd to. [para. 65].

R. v. Colpitts, [1965] S.C.R. 739, refd to. [para. 65].

R. v. Jolivet (D.), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 751; 254 N.R. 1; 2000 SCC 29, refd to. [para. 65].

R. v. Van (D.), [2009] 1 S.C.R. 716; 388 N.R. 200; 251 O.A.C. 295; 2009 SCC 22, refd to. [para. 65].

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, refd to. [paras. 68, 107].

R. v. P.L.S., [1991] 1 S.C.R. 909; 122 N.R. 321; 90 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 234; 280 A.P.R. 234, refd to. [para. 68].

R. v. Mahoney, [1982] 1 S.C.R. 834; 41 N.R. 582, refd to. [para. 68].

R. v. K.M.E., [2009] 2 S.C.R. 19; 389 N.R. 20; 272 B.C.A.C. 1; 459 W.A.C. 1; 2009 SCC 27, refd to. [para. 70].

R. v. Brooks (F.A.), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 237; 250 N.R. 103; 129 O.A.C. 205; 2000 SCC 11, refd to. [para. 71].

R. v. Haughton (D.), [1994] 3 S.C.R. 516; 179 N.R. 1; 79 O.A.C. 319, refd to. [paras. 72, 105].

R. v. Pilon (R.) (2009), 247 O.A.C. 127; 243 C.C.C.(3d) 109 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 72].

R. v. Holcomb (1973), 6 N.B.R.(2d) 485; 12 C.C.C.(2d) 417 (C.A.), affd. (1973), 6 N.B.R.(2d) 858; 15 C.C.C.(2d) 239 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 75].

R. v. Gilbert (2000), 201 C.L.R. 414 (Aust. H.C.), refd to. [para. 75].

R. v. Bullard, [1957] A.C. 635 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 78].

R. v. Coutts, [2007] 1 Cr. App. Rep. 61; 360 N.R. 362 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 82].

R. v. Coutts, [2005] 1 Cr. App. Rep. 517 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 82].

R. v. Maxwell (1990), 107 N.R. 70; 91 Cr. App. Rep. 61 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 83].

Johnston v. H.M. Advocate, 2009 SCCR 518 (Scot. H.C.), refd to. [para. 87, footnote 11].

R. v. Haughton (D.) (1992), 60 O.A.C. 291; 11 O.R.(3d) 621 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 89, 139, footnote 12].

R. v. Thomas (A.F.), [1998] 3 S.C.R. 535; 223 N.R. 266; 115 B.C.A.C. 161; 189 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 103].

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. 107].

R. v. Corbett, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 670; 85 N.R. 81, refd to. [para. 144].

R. v. Pan (R.W.); R. v. Sawyer (B.), [2001] 2 S.C.R. 344; 270 N.R. 317; 147 O.A.C. 1; 2001 SCC 42, refd to. [para. 144].

R. v. Prokofiew (E.) (2010), 264 O.A.C. 174; 100 O.R.(3d) 401 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 167].

R. v. Pickton (R.W.) (2010), 404 N.R. 198; 290 B.C.A.C. 264; 491 W.A.C. 264; 2010 SCC 32, refd to. [para. 168].

Statutes Noticed:

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 660 [para. 28]; sect. 662 [para. 30]; sect. 683(1)(b)(iii) [para. 65].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Doob, Anthony N., and Greenspan, Edward L., Perspectives in criminal law: essays in honour of John Ll.J. Edwards (1985), p. 101 [para. 67, footnote 10].

Grant, Isabel, Chunn, Dorothy, and Boyle, Christine, The Law of Homicide (1994 Looseleaf), s. 5.2 [para. 26, footnote 5].

Meehan, E.R., and Currie, J.H., The Law of Criminal Attempt (2nd Ed. 2000), pp. 56 to 92 [para. 48]; 300 [para. 26, footnote 5].

Mewett, Alan W., No Substantial Miscarriage of Justice, in Doob, Anthony N., and Greenspan, Edward L., Perspectives in criminal law: essays in honour of John Ll.J. Edwards (1985), p. 101 [para. 67, footnote 10].

Stuart, Donald, Canadian Criminal Law (5th Ed. 2007), pp. 662 to 666 [para. 48].

Taschereau, Henri Elzéar, The Criminal Code of Canada (1980) (Reprint), generally [para. 40].

Watt, David, Manual of Criminal Jury Instructions (2005), Final 235 [para. 40, footnote 8].

Counsel:

Russell Silverstein, for the appellant, Robert Sarrazin;

Philip Campbell and Howard L. Krongold, for the appellant, Darlind Jean;

James K. Stewart, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on March 31 and April 1, 2010, by Doherty, Moldaver and Epstein, JJ.A., of the Ontario Court of Appeal. The decision of the Court of Appeal was delivered on September 9, 2010, when the following opinions were filed:

Doherty, J.A. (Epstein, J.A., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 103;

Moldaver, J.A., dissenting - see paragraphs 104 to 172.

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