Supreme Court


First degree murder
Trial judge’s findings were supported by evidence

Deceased was sexually assaulted, killed by strangulation and then burned. Accused and deceased were seen together in security videos before her death. Accused’s DNA was found on tissue sample underneath deceased’s fingernails, but no other DNA evidence linked accused to deceased. Trial judge convicted accused of first degree murder. Trial judge held that underlying offence of sexual assault and murder were one part of single transaction. Trial judge found that accused’s partner provided credible evidence of accused’s conduct after deceased’s death, which included unusual washing. Trial judge held that accused’s conversation with undercover officer, regarding burning of body to dispose of it, was probative circumstantial evidence. Trial judge found that transference of DNA occurred during struggle between accused and deceased that resulted in her death. Trial judge held that it was established beyond reasonable doubt that accused was perpetrator who sexually assaulted and killed deceased. Accused’s conviction appeal was dismissed. Verdict was not unreasonable and was one that properly instructed jury, acting judicially, could have rendered. Trial judge’s assessment of evidence of accused’s partner could not be said to be unsupported by evidence. Trial judge’s findings were supported by evidence, which served to support ultimate conclusion of guilt. Accused appealed. Appeal dismissed. Reasons of majority were substantially agreed with.

R. v. Shaoulle (May. 2, 2016, S.C.C., McLachlin C.J.C., Abella J., Moldaver J., Côté J., and Brown J., 36704) Decision at 125 W.C.B. (2d) 296 was affirmed. 129 W.C.B. (2d) 167.

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