Heather’s Summaries: R. v. Calnen

Heather’s Summaries: R. v. Calnen

The previous day, the Perfect Courtroom of Canada launched its resolution in R v Calnen, 2019 SCC 6. With 3 separate judgments, there was once little consensus within the consequence.


In 2013, police arrested Mr. Calnen for the homicide of his spouse, Ms. Jordan. Right through wondering, Mr. Calnen stated Ms. Jordan died by accident. He stated that she was once going to depart him and so they argued. He stated Ms. Jordan was bodily competitive. He stated she attempted to punch him, however he ducked and she or he fell down the steps and died. 

Mr. Calnen stated he panicked. He stated he’d used crack cocaine at the manner house, and once more after Ms. Jordan died. He didn’t need to name police. He stated he concealed her frame within the woods, however got here again to transport it a few instances, and burned it in two other puts. He stated he positioned Ms. Jordan’s ashes close to her circle of relatives cottage, as a result of that’s what Ms. Jordan had stated she sought after performed along with her ashes if she died. Mr. Calnen stated he put the portions that weren’t absolutely burned by means of the hearth within the lake.

Mr. Calnen was once charged with second-degree homicide. He was once additionally charged with indecent interference with human stays. He pleaded accountable to the interference rate in the beginning of the trial however stated he didn’t kill her. A jury discovered him accountable of second-degree homicide. Nearly all of the Courtroom of Enchantment stated the trial pass judgement on made a mistake in his directions to the jury associated with the usage of after-the-fact habits as proof of intent for homicide. It overturned the homicide conviction and ordered a brand new trial on a rate of manslaughter.

Everybody agreed that the jury may just use Mr. Calnen’s makes an attempt to break Ms. Jordan’s frame to deduce he killed her and was once accountable of manslaughter. The query was once whether or not it will use those makes an attempt to deduce he meant to homicide her. On this case, there was once no direct bodily proof that Mr. Calnen killed Ms. Jordan, so right kind inferences have been the most important to the outcome – and to the defendant’s liberty.

The Perfect Courtroom of Canada Discovering(s)

All judges on the Perfect Courtroom agreed, in idea, that any person’s movements after a suspected homicide can (in some cases) be used to deduce their intent to devote second-degree homicide. Many of the judges agreed, on this case, that proof about Mr. Calnen’s movements after Ms. Jordan died might be used to deduce his intent for second-degree homicide. If Mr. Calnen hadn’t destroyed the frame, it will have confirmed how she died and published one thing whether or not he had deliberately murdered her.

On the other hand, the bulk (Moldaver, Gascon and Rowe JJ.) parted corporate with Martin J. (dissenting partially) in that almost all didn’t assume the trial pass judgement on’s failure to present a restricting instruction towards basic propensity reasoning amounted to reversible error. They discovered that the jury was once provided to come to a decision the case within the absence of such an instruction. They restored Mr. Calnen’s moment diploma homicide conviction.

When the trial pass judgement on’s rate is regarded as rather, contextually, and as an entire, I’m glad that the jury was once correctly provided to come to a decision the case within the absence of a restricting instruction towards basic propensity reasoning. And It’s not that i am on my own on this. Skilled defence recommend at trial looked to be of the similar view. – Moldaver, writing for almost all, at para. 6

It was once essential to the bulk’s resolution that the defence had now not sought a restricting instruction towards basic propensity reasoning. As a substitute, the accused followed a technique of the use of the discreditable habits to strengthen the credibility of his exculpatory commentary and re-enactment, upon which his defence of unintentional dying rested. Within the majority’s opinion, that the defence followed a planned technique to make use of the discreditable habits proof to its personal benefit was once crucial issue which prominent this example from others. Given the method followed by means of the defence, a restricting instruction towards basic propensity reasoning would have risked highlighting the damaging affect of the accused’s discreditable habits on his credibility and thereby unravelling his defence a possibility which the defence selected to not take. As Moldaver J. wrote, “The defence made a sound tactical resolution at trial and misplaced and it will have to are living with the effects of that call. The accused had an even trial.” In those cases, the bulk made up our minds that the primary of finality will have to be successful.

In her partially dissenting judgment, Martin J. wrote that the jury should had been warned in regards to the particular dangers of prohibited propensity reasoning related to the after-the-fact habits, in addition to different proof in regards to the accused’s persona, habits and way of life. Martin J. felt that the verdict of the Courtroom of Enchantment to put aside the accused’s moment diploma homicide conviction must be upheld, however {that a} new trial must be ordered at the rate of moment diploma homicide.

In complete dissent, Karakatsanis J. wrote that the proof on this case was once now not probative of intent for homicide and a directed verdict of acquittal must had been granted. She felt that if habits might be similarly defined by means of or similarly in line with two or extra offences, as was once the case right here, it’s not probative with appreciate to figuring out guilt as between the offences. Karakatsanis J. held that the enchantment must be disregarded.


In response to the bulk lead to Calnen, after-the-fact habits will also be circumstantial proof of the psychological component for moment diploma homicide. In a extra implicit consequence, the bulk unearths that defence technique can direct whether or not or now not a restricting instruction to the jury is needed.

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