Non-direction by trial judge amounted to misdirection

Ontario criminal | Criminal Law

Offences

Murder

Non-direction by trial judge amounted to misdirection

CW and SH were in dispute over relationship and wanted to fight. Accused was CW’s brother. Accused was asked by CW to go to parking lot and watch out for him during fight. When accused arrived in parking lot, he saw CW and SH fighting. Instead of getting out of his vehicle to help his brother, accused drove truck towards both men. Accused accelerated, then applied braked. Truck fishtailed and struck SH and crushed him against wall. Accused then left area without offering any assistance to SH. Accused was convicted of second degree murder. Accused appealed. Appeal dismissed, and conviction of manslaughter substituted in place of conviction of second degree murder. Charge to jury did not adequately equip jury to determine nature and extent of accused’s liability for death of SH. Failure of trial judge to make clear role of accident constituted non-direction amounting to misdirection in circumstances of case.
R. v. Ward (2016), 2016 CarswellOnt 20379, 2016 ONCA 984, R.G. Juriansz J.A., David Watt J.A., and L.B. Roberts J.A. (Ont. C.A.).

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