Supreme Court


Criminal Law

Trial procedure

Charging jury or self–instruction

Re-examination of law was not warranted

Accused, who fathered child of complainant’s daughter and had acrimonious custody battle, was charged with arson and mischief with respect to complainant’s garage being set on fire and trees in his orchard destroyed. Trial judge considered evidence that, when contacted by police, accused disclaimed any interest in arson investigation and claimed to have spent weekend in another province when cell phone evidence indicated he was in town, as establishing accused had lied to police. Accused was convicted of arson and mischief. Accused unsuccessfully appealed with majority finding that it was open to trial judge to draw inference that accused knew what had happened on complainant’s property when he spoke to police, that his alibi was deliberate lie and deliberate lie could be relied upon as some evidence of guilt. Accused appealed. Appeal dismissed. Appeal was dismissed substantially for majority reasons in appeal decision. Re-examination of law was not warranted, particularly where neither party had asked to depart from jurisprudence.

R. v. Clifford (2017), 2017 CarswellBC 436, 2017 CarswellBC 437, 2017 SCC 9, 2017 CSC 9, Abella J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Wagner J., Côté J., Brown J., and Rowe J. (S.C.C.); affirmed (2016), 2016 CarswellBC 2150, 2016 BCCA 336, Newbury J.A., Willcock J.A., and Fenlon J.A. (B.C. C.A.).

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