Evidence of accused’s membership in conspiracy overwhelming

Supreme court | Appeal

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Evidence of accused’s membership in conspiracy overwhelming

Accused charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Two sisters who were friends of accused murdered their mother by inducing unconsciousness with alcohol and pills and drowning her in bathtub. Accused alleged to have provided pills and assisted in establishing alibi. Crown relied on Internet chat logs between accused and sisters in which ideas for murder were discussed. Trial judge instructed jury that accused could be convicted as principal or as party to conspiracy. Court of Appeal upheld accused’s conviction. Appeal dismissed. Party liability exists for offence of conspiracy only for persons who aid or abet formation of agreement that underlies charge. In accused’s case jury should not have been instructed on party liability. Evidence of accused’s membership in conspiracy was overwhelming and error could not have affected verdict.
R. v. F. (J.) (Mar. 1, 2013, S.C.C., McLachlin C.J.C., LeBel J., Fish J., Rothstein J., Cromwell J., Moldaver J., and Karakatsanis J., File No. 34284) 105 W.C.B. (2d) 449.

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