Criminal Law - Defences - Intoxication
Accused refused to provide breath sample and was charged with failing to comply with demand of police. Trial judge held that defense of extreme intoxication amounted to defence of automatism. Trial judge admitted defence of extreme intoxication and acquitted accused. Majority of Court of Appeal allowed Crown’s appeal. Accused’s state of mind allowed her to willfully refuse to comply with demand of police. Majority held that trial judge erred in law and accused was convicted. Accused appealed. Appeal allowed. Crown conceded availability of defence of extreme intoxication akin to automatism, to charge of failing to provide breath sample. Hence, majority at Court of Appeal erred in raising and deciding availability of that defence. Having regard to Crown’s concession, it was not clear whether trial judge erred in law in his understanding or application of defence of automatism. In these unusual circumstances, it would not be in interests of justice to overturn this acquittal. Therefore, acquittal should be restored.
R. c. Blanchard (2019), 2019 CarswellQue 399, 2019 CarswellQue 400, 2019 SCC 9, 2019 CSC 9, Wagner C.J.C., Abella J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Gascon J., Côté J., Brown J., Rowe J., and Martin J. (S.C.C.); reversed (2018), 2018 CarswellQue 5384, 2018 CarswellQue 5523, 2018 QCCA 1069, Bouchard J.C.A., Mainville J.C.A., and Doyon J.C.A. (C.A. Que.).
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