R. v. Sheppard (C.), 2002 SCC 26

JudgeGonthier, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour and LeBel, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateJune 21, 2001
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations2002 SCC 26;(2002), 284 N.R. 342 (SCC);[2002] 1 SCR 869;[2002] SCJ No 30 (QL);210 DLR (4th) 608;284 NR 342;52 WCB (2d) 360;[2002] CarswellNfld 74;AZ-50117270;162 CCC (3d) 298;JE 2002-582;211 Nfld & PEIR 50;[2002] ACS no 30;50 CR (5th) 68;633 APR 50

R. v. Sheppard (C.) (2002), 284 N.R. 342 (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: [2002] N.R. TBEd. MR.017

Her Majesty the Queen (appellant) v. Colin Sheppard (respondent)

(27439; 2002 SCC 26)

Indexed As: R. v. Sheppard (C.)

Supreme Court of Canada

Gonthier, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour and LeBel, JJ.

March 21, 2002.

Summary:

A summary conviction court convicted Sheppard of possession of stolen property. Sheppard appealed.

The Newfoundland Court of Appeal, Cam­eron, J.A., dissenting, in a decision reported at 178 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 1; 544 A.P.R. 1, allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. The Crown appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal.

Courts - Topic 583

Judges - Duties - Re reasons for decisions - The accused was charged with pos­session of stolen property - The stolen property was never found - The only evidence connecting the accused to the stolen prop­erty was an accusation by his estranged girlfriend, who went to the police two days after their tempestuous relationship ended -The accused denied the accusation - The trial judge convicted the accused, stating that "Having con­sidered all the testimony in this case, and reminding myself of the burden on the Crown and the credibility of witnesses, and how this is to be assessed, I find the de­fendant guilty as charged." - The Supreme Court of Canada held that "the trial judge's reasons were so 'generic' as to be no rea­sons at all" - The trial judge's failure to provide an explanation of his decision that was sufficiently intelli­gible to permit ap­pellate review constituted an error in law under s. 686(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code.

Courts - Topic 583

Judges - Duties - Re reasons for decisions - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "It is true that there is no general duty, viewed in the abstract and divorced from the circum­stances of the particular case, to provide reasons 'when the finding is otherwise sup­portable on the evidence or where the basis of the finding is apparent from the circumstan­ces' ... An appeal lies from the judgment, not the reasons for judgment. Nevertheless, rea­sons fulfill an important function in the trial process and, ... where that function goes unperformed, the judgment itself may be vulnerable to be reversed on appeal." - See paragraph 4.

Courts - Topic 583

Judges - Duties - Re reasons for decisions - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "Reasons for judgment are the primary mechanism by which judges account to the parties and to the public for the decisions they render. The courts frequently say that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done, but critics respond that it is difficult to see how justice can be seen to be done if judges fail to articulate the reasons for their actions. Trial courts, where the essential findings of facts and drawing of inferences are done, can only be held properly to account if the reasons for their adjudication are transparent and accessible to the public and to the appel­late courts." - See paragraph 15.

Courts - Topic 583

Judges - Duties - Re reasons for decisions - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "There is a general sense in which a duty to give reasons may be said to be owed to the public rather than to the parties to a specific proceeding. Through reasoned decisions, members of the general public become aware of rules of conduct applicable to their future activities. An awareness of the reasons for a rule often helps define its scope for those trying to comply with it. The development of the common law proceeds largely by reasoned analogy from established precedents to new situations. Few would argue, however, that failure to discharge this jurisprudential function necessarily gives rise to appellate intervention. New trials are ordered to address the potential need for correction of the outcome of a particular case. Poor reasons may coincide with a just result. Serious remedies such as a new trial require serious justification." - See para­graph 22.

Courts - Topic 583

Judges - Duties - Re reasons for decisions - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "the requirement of reasons is tied to their purpose and the purpose varies with the context. At the trial level, the reasons justify and explain the result. The losing party knows why he or she has lost. Informed consideration can be given to grounds for appeal. Interested members of the public can satisfy themselves that justice has been done, or not, as the case may be." - See paragraph 24.

Courts - Topic 583

Judges - Duties - Re reasons for decisions - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that in the context of a decision being appealed, the purpose of the trial judge's reasons was "to preserve and enhance meaningful appellate review of the cor­rectness of the decision (which embraces both errors of law and palpable overriding errors of fact). If deficiencies in the rea­sons do not, in a particular case, foreclose meaningful appellate review, but allow for its full exercise, the deficiency will not justify intervention under s. 686 of the Criminal Code. ... The appellate court is not given the power to intervene simply because it thinks the trial court did a poor job of expressing itself." - See paragraphs 25 and 26.

Courts - Topic 583

Judges - Duties - Re reasons for decisions - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "The mandate of the appellate court is to determine the correctness of the trial decision, and a functional test requires that the trial judge's reasons be sufficient for that purpose. The appeal court itself is in the best position to make that determina­tion. The threshold is clearly reached, ..., where the appeal court considers itself unable to determine whether the decision is vitiated by error. ... The simple underly­ing rule is that if, in the opinion of the appeal court, the deficiencies in the rea­sons prevent meaningful appellate review of the correctness of the decision, then an error of law has been committed." - See paragraphs 28 and 39 to 46.

Courts - Topic 583

Judges - Duties - Re reasons for decisions - The Supreme Court of Canada rejected that the inadequacy of reasons provided a free-standing right of appeal and in itself conferred entitlement to appellate inter­vention - A more contextual approach was required - The requirement of reasons, in whatever context it was raised, should be given a functional and purposeful interpre­tation - See paragraphs 33 and 53.

Courts - Topic 583

Judges - Duties - Re reasons for decisions - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "the duty to give reasons, where it exists, arises out of the circumstances of a particular case. Where it is plain from the record why an accused has been convicted or acquitted, and the absence or in­adequacy of reasons provides no signifi­cant impediment to the exercise of the right of appeal, the appeal court will not on that account intervene. On the other hand, where the path taken by the trial judge through confused or conflicting evidence is not at all apparent, or there are difficult issues of law that need to be confronted but which the trial judge has circumnavigated without explanation, or where ... there are conflicting theories for why the trial judge might have decided as he or she did, at least some of which would clearly constitute reversible error, the appeal court may in some cases con­sider itself unable to give effect to the statutory right of appeal. In such a case, one or other of the parties may question the correctness of the result, but will wrongly have been deprived by the absence or inadequacy of reasons of the opportunity to have the trial verdict prop­erly scrutinized on appeal. In such a case, even if the record discloses evidence that on one view could support a reasonable verdict, the deficiencies in the reasons may amount to an error of law and justify appellate intervention. It will be for the appeal court to determine whether, in a particular case, the deficiency in the rea­sons precludes it from properly carrying out its appellate function." - See paragraph 46.

Courts - Topic 583

Judges - Duties - Re reasons for decisions - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "I would certainly not foreclose the possibility that the absence or inadequacy of reasons could contribute to a miscar­riage of justice within the meaning of s. 686(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code. Inad­equate trial reasons may cause or contrib­ute to an appellate conclusion that the trial judge failed to appreciate important evi­dence, but the failure might not be based on a misapprehension of some legal prin­ciple, and the court therefore may hesitate to characterize it as an error of law" - See paragraph 47.

Courts - Topic 583

Judges - Duties - Re reasons for decisions - The Supreme Court of Canada set out an inexhaustive list of propositions summar­izing the case law in relation to the trial judge's duty to give reasons viewed in the context of appellate intervention in a crim­inal case - See paragraph 55.

Criminal Law - Topic 4683

Procedure - Judgments and reasons for judgment - Reasons for judgment - Whether required - [See all Courts - Topic 583 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 4684

Procedure - Judgments and reasons for judgment - Reasons for judgment - Suffi­ciency of - [See all Courts - Topic 583 ].

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Barrett (D.), [1995] 1 S.C.R. 752; 179 N.R. 68; 80 O.A.C. 1, consd. [para. 4].

Coleman v. Dunlop Ltd., [1998] P.I.Q.R. 398 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 16].

Flannery v. Halifax Estate Agencies Ltd., [2000] 1 All E.R. 373 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 16].

Pettitt v. Dunkley, [1971] 1 N.S.W.L.R. 376 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 17].

Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 817; 243 N.R. 22, refd to. [para. 18].

R. v. M.G. (1994), 73 O.A.C. 356; 93 C.C.C.(3d) 347 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. P.L.F.N. (1999), 138 Man.R.(2d) 205; 202 W.A.C. 205; 138 C.C.C.(3d) 49 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Haché (A.J.) (1999), 175 N.S.R.(2d) 297; 534 A.P.R. 297; 25 C.R.(5th) 127 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Graves (G.) (2000), 189 N.S.R.(2d) 281; 590 A.P.R. 281 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Gostick (W.) (1999), 121 O.A.C. 355; 137 C.C.C.(3d) 53 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. MacDonald, [1977] 2 S.C.R. 665; 9 N.R. 271, refd to. [para. 29].

R. v. Harper, [1982] 1 S.C.R. 2; 40 N.R. 255, refd to. [para. 31].

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. 31].

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. 34].

R. v. Corbett, [1975] 2 S.C.R. 275; 1 N.R. 258, refd to. [para. 34].

R. v. Yebes, [1987] 2 S.C.R. 168; 78 N.R. 351, refd to. [para. 34].

R. v. Biniaris (J.), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 381; 252 N.R. 204; 134 B.C.A.C. 161; 219 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 34].

R. v. Barrett (1993), 64 O.A.C. 99; 82 C.C.C.(3d) 266 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 35].

R. v. Burke (J.) (No. 3), [1996] 1 S.C.R. 474; 194 N.R. 247; 139 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 147; 433 A.P.R. 147, refd to. [para. 38].

R. v. McMaster (R.A.) et al., [1996] 1 S.C.R. 740; 194 N.R. 278; 181 A.R. 199; 116 W.A.C. 199, refd to. [para. 40].

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. 41].

R. v. Feeney (M.), [1997] 2 S.C.R. 13; 212 N.R. 83; 91 B.C.A.C. 1; 148 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 44].

R. v. Morin (K.M.), [1992] 3 S.C.R. 286; 142 N.R. 141; 131 A.R. 81; 25 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Khan (M.A.) (2001), 279 N.R. 79; 160 Man.R.(2d) 161; 262 W.A.C. 161 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Fanjoy, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 233; 62 N.R. 253; 11 O.A.C. 381, refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Morrissey (R.J.) (1995), 80 O.A.C. 161; 97 C.C.C.(3d) 193 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. G.G. (1995), 80 O.A.C. 12; 97 C.C.C.(3d) 362 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Braich (A.) et al. (2002) 285 N.R. 162 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 58].

R. v. Ying, [1930] 3 D.L.R. 925 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 61].

R. v. McCullough, [1970] 1 C.C.C. 366 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 61].

R. v. D.W., [1991] 1 S.C.R. 742; 122 N.R. 277; 46 O.A.C. 352, refd to. [para. 65].

R. v. Richardson (1992), 57 O.A.C. 54; 74 C.C.C.(3d) 15 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 66].

R. v. Dankyi (E.) (1993), 59 Q.A.C. 118; 86 C.C.C.(3d) 368 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 67].

R. v. Anagnostopoulos (1993), 107 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 232; 336 A.P.R. 232; 20 C.R.(4th) 98 (Nfld. C.A.), refd to. [para. 67].

R. v. Davis (D.J.) (1995), 165 A.R. 243; 89 W.A.C. 243; 98 C.C.C.(3d) 98 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 67].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Allen, Ronald J., and Seniuk, Gerald T.G., Two Puzzles for Juridical Proof (1997), 76 Can. Bar Rev. 65, pp. 69 to 80 [para. 53].

Cameron, Jamie, The Charter's Impact on the Criminal Justice System (1996), pp. 158, 159 [para. 53].

Cournoyer, Guy, Annotation to R. v. Biniaris (2000), 32 C.R.(5th) 1, p. 6 [para. 53].

Donald Marshall, Jr., Inquiry - see Nova Scotia, Attorney General, Report to the Canadian Judicial Council of the Inquiry Committee.

Ho, H.L., The Judicial Duty to give Rea­sons (2000), 20 Legal Stud. 42, generally [para. 16].

Mitchell, Gerald, Do Trial Judges Have a Duty to Give Reasons for Convicting? (1999), 25 C.R.(5th) 150, generally [para. 53].

MacDonnell, Ian, Reasons for Judgment and Fundamental Justice, in Cameron, Jamie, The Charter's Impact on the Criminal Justice System (1996), pp. 158, 159 [para. 53].

Nova Scotia, Attorney General, Report to the Canadian Judicial Council of the Inquiry Committee on the Donald Marshall, Jr., Inquiry Committee Estab­lished pursuant to Subsection 63(1) of the Judges Act (1990), generally [para. 27].

Stuart, Don, Charter Justice in Canadian Criminal Law (3rd Ed. 2001), p. 187 [para. 53].

Tanovich, David M., Testing the Presump­tion That Trial Judges Know the Law: The Case of D.W. (2001), 43 C.R.(5th) 298, generally [para. 54].

Counsel:

Harold J. Porter, for the appellant;

Richard S. Rogers, for the respondent.

Solicitors of Record:

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

Williams, Roebotham, McKay and Marshall, St. John's, Newfoundland, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on June 21, 2001, before Gonthier, Iacobucci, Major, Bastar­ache, Binnie, Arbour and LeBel, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. Binnie, J., delivered the following decision in both official languages on March 21, 2002.

To continue reading

Request your trial
17 practice notes
  • British Columbia v. Canadian Forest Products Ltd., 2004 SCC 38
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • June 11, 2004
    ...before the tort occurred, but simply chose not to. The Crown was able to collect stumpage fees from salvaged timber now, as opposed to 30 or 50 years from now as previously planned. That is clearly a mitigating factor. However, charging other licensees more as a result of the forest fire do......
  • British Columbia v. Canadian Forest Products Ltd., (2004) 198 B.C.A.C. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • June 11, 2004
    ...before the tort occurred, but simply chose not to. The Crown was able to collect stumpage fees from salvaged timber now, as opposed to 30 or 50 years from now as previously planned. That is clearly a mitigating factor. However, charging other licensees more as a result of the forest fire do......
  • Heath-Breakspear v. Breakspear, 2016 NLTD(F) 35
    • Canada
    • Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada)
    • January 8, 2017
    ...may not exercise jurisdiction under section 28 or that has declined jurisdiction under section 30 or 50, may do 1 or more of the following:           (c)        make the interim order in respect of the cust......
  • A.Q. v. F.H., (2013) 342 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 60 (NLTD(F))
    • Canada
    • Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada)
    • October 16, 2013
    ...retained in the province; or (b) that may not exercise jurisdiction under section 28 or that has declined jurisdiction under section 30 or 50, may do 1 or more of the following: (c) make the interim order in respect of the custody or access that the court considers is in the best interests ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • British Columbia v. Canadian Forest Products Ltd., 2004 SCC 38
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • June 11, 2004
    ...before the tort occurred, but simply chose not to. The Crown was able to collect stumpage fees from salvaged timber now, as opposed to 30 or 50 years from now as previously planned. That is clearly a mitigating factor. However, charging other licensees more as a result of the forest fire do......
  • British Columbia v. Canadian Forest Products Ltd., (2004) 198 B.C.A.C. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • June 11, 2004
    ...before the tort occurred, but simply chose not to. The Crown was able to collect stumpage fees from salvaged timber now, as opposed to 30 or 50 years from now as previously planned. That is clearly a mitigating factor. However, charging other licensees more as a result of the forest fire do......
  • Heath-Breakspear v. Breakspear, 2016 NLTD(F) 35
    • Canada
    • Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada)
    • January 8, 2017
    ...may not exercise jurisdiction under section 28 or that has declined jurisdiction under section 30 or 50, may do 1 or more of the following:           (c)        make the interim order in respect of the cust......
  • A.Q. v. F.H., (2013) 342 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 60 (NLTD(F))
    • Canada
    • Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada)
    • October 16, 2013
    ...retained in the province; or (b) that may not exercise jurisdiction under section 28 or that has declined jurisdiction under section 30 or 50, may do 1 or more of the following: (c) make the interim order in respect of the custody or access that the court considers is in the best interests ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 firm's commentaries
  • 2018 Fall Economic Update
    • Canada
    • Mondaq Canada
    • November 27, 2018
    ...and before 2025. Many of these assets would normally be depreciated at lower rates of 4, 8 or 20 per cent, but can be depreciated at either 30 or 50 per cent if they qualify as clean energy equipment defined in the Income Tax This new measure allows the same clean energy equipment to have a......
  • Distribution Centre Leases ' Suited For You? (Podcast)
    • Canada
    • Mondaq Canada
    • October 24, 2022
    ...than 21 years. Otherwise, at the end of that 21 years, less a day, the lease is void. And if you're planning on entering into a lease for 30 or 50 years, that would be a stunning Lisa Borsook: You also have to be conscious about the Land Transfer Tax Act. The Land Transfer Tax Act says that......
1 books & journal articles
  • Miss, Mrs., Ms., or None of the Above: Gendered Address for Women in the Legislature.
    • Canada
    • Canadian Parliamentary Review Vol. 40 No. 3, September - September 2017
    • September 22, 2017
    ...You are on your own journey--and it's okay if you don't know to where. The place you want to be at 20 isn't where you want to be at 30 or 50 or 70. Be confident in what you believe and humble about what you don't know. Live a life that is meaningful by contributing to a better world. Work h......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT