Open to court on appeal to consider accused’s silence in rejecting his unreasonable verdict argument

Supreme court | Criminal Law | Appeals | Appeal from conviction or acquittal

Accused was convicted by jury of intentionally discharging firearm while reckless as to life or safety of another person and occupying motor vehicle while knowing there was firearm in vehicle. Accused appealed his convictions on ground that they were unreasonable. Majority of Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed appeal. Accused appealed. Appeal dismissed. Circumstantial evidence presented against accused established strong case to answer. It was open to court on appeal to consider accused’s silence in assessing and ultimately rejecting his unreasonable verdict argument. Trial judge made it clear to jury, on numerous occasions, that it could not consider accused’s failure to testify as makeweight for Crown’s case. In this regard, certain paragraphs of reasons of majority of Ontario Court of Appeal were not endorsed, to extent they could be taken as suggesting otherwise.

R. v. George-Nurse (2019), 2019 CarswellOnt 2296, 2019 CarswellOnt 2297, 2019 SCC 12, 2019 CSC 12, Abella J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Côté J., and Rowe J. (S.C.C.); affirmed (2018), 2018 CarswellOnt 8833, 2018 ONCA 515, J.C. MacPherson J.A., C.W. Hourigan J.A., and B.W. Miller J.A. (Ont. C.A.).

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