Trial judge may not express opinion that will influence jury on verdict

Supreme court | Trial

CHARGE TO JURY

Trial judge may not express opinion that will influence jury on verdict

Accused’s conviction for second degree murder set aside and new trial ordered. Trial judge may express opinion on question of fact when warranted so long as circumstances permit but judge may not express opinion that will influence jury on verdict. Trial judge committed error by failing to simply outline defence theory, instead attempting to demonstrate its implausibility and by failing to repeat caution regarding own opinion. Summary of defence theory should be presented objectively.
R. c. Mailhot (Mar. 28, 2013, S.C.C., McLachlin C.J.C., LeBel J., Fish J., Abella J., Rothstein J., Moldaver J., and Wagner J., File No. 34881) 108 W.C.B. (2d) 407.

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