R. v. Snelgrove, (1977) 13 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 190 (NFCA)

JudgeMifflin, C.J., Morgan and Gushue, JJ.A.
CourtNewfoundland Court of Appeal
Case DateMay 24, 1977
JurisdictionNewfoundland and Labrador
Citations(1977), 13 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 190 (NFCA)

R. v. Snelgrove (1977), 13 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 190 (NFCA);

    29 A.P.R. 190

MLB headnote and full text

R. v. Snelgrove

Indexed As: R. v. Snelgrove

Newfoundland Supreme Court

Court of Appeal

Mifflin, C.J., Morgan and Gushue, JJ.A.

May 24, 1977.

Summary:

This case arose out of a charge of murder against the accused. The accused while drunk, began firing a 12 gauge shotgun at the house where his estranged wife and children lived. When the owner of the house came outside, the accused shot and killed him. The accused was charged with murder. At his trial there was considerable evidence of the drunkenness of the accused, but the trial judge in his charge to the jury gave little attention to the evidence of drunkenness and failed to put a defence of drunkenness to the jury in the context of a possible verdict of manslaughter. The accused was convicted of murder. The accused appealed.

The Newfoundland Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and substituted a conviction for manslaughter. The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in failing to adequately direct the jury on the defence of drunkenness and on a possible verdict of manslaughter.

Criminal Law - Topic 1261

Murder - Definitions - Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-34, s. 212 - The accused while drunk, began firing a 12 gauge shotgun at a house where his estranged wife and children lived - When the owner of the house came outside, the accused shot and killed him - The Newfoundland Court of Appeal held that s. 212(a) of the Criminal Code was applicable, which provided that murder is committed when the person causing the death of another means to cause the death or bodily harm which he knows will cause death - The Court of Appeal held that the killing was not done for another and unlawful object within the meaning of s. 212(c) - See paragraphs 1 - 14, 35 - 37.

Criminal Law - Topic 1299

Murder - Defences - Jury charge respecting intent and drunkenness - The accused while drunk began firing a 12 gauge shotgun at the house where his estranged wife and children lived - When the owner of the house came outside, the accused shot and killed him - The trial judge in his charge to the jury failed to give adequate attention to the defence of drunkenness and did not mention it with relation to a possible verdict of manslaughter - The Newfoundland Court of Appeal held that the issue of manslaughter should have been left to the jury in the context of a proper charge on the defence of drunkenness - See paragraphs 15 - 28, 33 - 45.

Criminal Law - Topic 1314

Manslaughter - Jury charge respecting intention and drunkenness - The accused while drunk began firing a 12 gauge shotgun at the house where his estranged wife and children lived - When the owner of the house came outside, the accused shot and killed him - The Newfoundland Court of Appeal held that the jury should have been instructed that, the intent to commit murder because of drunkenness, they should convict the accused of manslaughter - The Court of Appeal stated that every man on trial for murder has the right to have the issue of manslaughter left to a jury if there is any evidence upon which such a verdict can be given - See paragraphs 15 - 28, 33 - 45.

Criminal Law - Topic 4357

Procedure - Charge or directions to jury - Directions regarding offences and theory of the defence - The accused was charged with murder and at his trial there was considerable evidence of the drunkenness of the accused - The trial judge in his charge to the jury, gave little attention to the evidence of drunkenness and failed to put the defence of drunkenness to the jury in the context of a possible verdict of manslaughter - The Newfoundland Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in failing to adequately direct the jury on the defence of drunkenness and substituted a conviction for manslaughter for the conviction of the accused of murder instead of ordering a new trial - See paragraphs 15 -28, 31 - 32, 33-45.

Criminal Law - Topic 5055

Appeals - Indictable offences - Murder - Substitution of verdict of manslaughter for murder - Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-34, ss. 613(1)(b)(i), 613(3) - The Newfoundland Court of Appeal held that it had the power to substitute a conviction for manslaughter for the conviction of the accused of murder, where it appeared that a jury, if properly instructed, would probably have returned a verdict of manslaughter - See paragraphs 29 - 30, 45.

Criminal Law - Topic 5882

Sentence - Manslaughter - Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-34, ss. 217, 219 - The accused while drunk began firing a 12 gauge shotgun at a house where his estranged wife and children lived - When the owner of the house came outside, the accused shot and killed him - The Newfoundland Court of Appeal convicted the accused of manslaughter and sentenced him to imprisonment for 10 years - See paragraphs 30, 45.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Tennant and Naccarato, 31 C.R.N.S. 1, appld. [para. 12].

Director of Public Prosecutions v. Beard, [1920] A.C. 479, appld. [para. 15].

McAskill v. The King, [1931] S.C.R. 330, [1931] 3 D.L.R. 167, appld. [paras. 15 and 39].

Bullard v. The Queen, [1957] A.C. 635, appld. [para. 27].

R. v. Clarke (1973), 4 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 550, folld. [para. 29].

R. v. Nantais, [1966] 2 O.R, 246, appld. [para. 29].

Lizotte v. The Queen, [1953] 1 S.C.R. 411, folld. [para. 41].

Statutes Noticed:

Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-34, sect. 212 [paras. 5, 35]; sect. 613(1)(b)(i) [para. 29]; sect. 613(1)(b)(iii) [para. 28]; sect. 613(3) [para. 29].

Counsel:

V. Randell Earle, for the appellant;

F. Bruce Winsor, for the respondent.

This case was heard on November 5, 1976, at St. John's, Newfoundland, before MIFFLIN, C.J., MORGAN and GUSHUE, JJ.A., of the Newfoundland Supreme Court, Court of Appeal.

On May 24, 1977, the judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered and the following opinions were filed:

MIFFLIN, C.J., - see paragraphs 1 - 30;

MORGAN, J.A., - see paragraphs 31 - 32;

GUSHUE, J.A., - see paragraphs 33 - 45.

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