Accused’s actions remained significant contributing cause of death

Supreme court | Manslaughter

Accused’s actions remained significant contributing cause of death

Accused brothers charged with manslaughter. After dispute at bar first accused punched deceased repeatedly while second accused assisted and knocked him unconscious. Bouncer then asked who had started fight and punched deceased in back of head and carried him out of bar and dropped him on sidewalk. Accused died from head injuries. Trial judge could not decide based on medical evidence which blow or blows caused death. Trial judge acquitted accused and bouncer. Majority of Court of Appeal allowed Crown’s appeal and ordered new trial on basis that accused’s actions incapacitated deceased and that further intervention by bar staff was reasonably foreseeable. Appeal by accused dismissed. “But for” accused’s actions deceased would not have died so factual causation was established. Open to trial judge to find that bouncer’s act was closely connected with accused’s acts and that accused’s actions remained significant contributing cause of death even if bouncer delivered fatal blow.

R. v. Maybin (May 18, 2012, S.C.C., LeBel, Fish, Abella, Rothstein, Cromwell, Moldaver and Karakatsanis JJ., File No. 34011) Decision at 92 W.C.B. (2d) 55 affirmed. 100 W.C.B. (2d) 446 (32 pp.).

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