Only likely explanation for co-accused’s hearsay statements was truthfulness

Supreme court | Evidence | Hearsay | Principled approach

Deceased’s remains were found in his charred log cabin, and baseball bat from his residence was found in nearby rest area. Forensic analysis linked bloodstains on bat to deceased and linked biological material recovered from handle of bat to accused. Co-accused, who was found guilty of second-degree murder in separate proceedings, had made statements to undercover officers implicating accused in deceased’s death. Accused gave undercover officers similar account of events. Accused was found guilty of first degree murder. Appeal by accused was dismissed. When circumstances of co-accused’s statements were considered together with DNA evidence linking accused to bat handle and striking similarities between co-accused’s and accused’s statements to undercover officers then only likely explanation for co-accused’s hearsay statements was truthfulness. Judge accurately recognized that unlike facts in 2017 Supreme Court of Canada decision, co-accused implicated accused in murders when she was speaking with undercover operators she thought were members of criminal organization. Accused appealed. Appeal dismissed. Applying reasons in 2017 Supreme Court of Canada decision, majority would dismiss appeal for reasons of majority of Court of Appeal.

R. v. Larue (2019), 2019 CarswellYukon 40, 2019 CarswellYukon 41, 2019 SCC 25, 2019 CSC 25, Abella J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Côté J., and Brown J. (S.C.C.); affirmed (2018), 2018 CarswellYukon 50, 2018 YKCA 9, Bennett J.A., Dickson J.A., and Charbonneau J.A. (Y.T. C.A.).

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