Supreme Court


Appeal

NO SUBSTANTIAL WRONG
Trial judge erred in failing to leave attempted murder

Accused charged with second degree murder. Accused alleged to have shot deceased in abdomen with sawed-off shotgun. Deceased died of a blood clot more than a month later and five days after being released from hospital. One expert witness testified that blood clot could have been caused by cocaine ingestion rather than by complications from the gunshot wound. Trial judge declined to leave attempted murder as available verdict and told jury they must acquit if they had reasonable doubt on causation. Accused convicted of second degree murder. Majority of Court of Appeal allowed accuseds’ appeal and ordered new trial. Crown’s appeal dismissed. Trial judge erred in failing to leave attempted murder. Curative proviso should not be applied. Availability of verdict of attempted murder may have affected jury’s determination on causation issue. Crown’s case on causation was not overwhelming.

R. v. Sarrazin

(Nov. 4, 2011, S.C.C., McLachlin C.J.C., Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron, Rothstein and Cromwell JJ., File No. 33917) Decision at 90 W.C.B. (2d) 308 affirmed. 97 W.C.B. (2d) 192 (35 pp.).

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