Example Jury Instructions

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Introduction

See also: Established Areas of Jury Instruction

The following contains quotations of instructions that were considered by appellate courts as being adequate in certain circumstances.

Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

See also: Standard of Proof

It must be explained that:[1]

  • "the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is inextricably intertwined with that principle fundamental to all criminal trials, the presumption of innocence;"
  • "the burden of proof rests on the prosecution throughout the trial and never shifts to the accused;"
  • "a reasonable doubt is not a doubt based upon sympathy or prejudice;"
  • "rather, it is based upon reason and common sense;"
  • "it is logically connected to the evidence or absence of evidence;"
  • "it does not involve proof to an absolute certainty; it is not proof beyond any doubt nor is it an imaginary or frivolous doubt;" and
  • "more is required than proof that the accused is probably guilty ‑‑ a jury which concludes only that the accused is probably guilty must acquit."
  1. R v Lifchus, [1997] 3 SCR 320, 1997 CanLII 319 (SCC), per Cory J

Evidence

Admissions

See also: Admissions
  • "An admission stands in the place of and renders unnecessary testimony or exhibits to prove what has been admitted. Jurors are to take what is admitted as proven fact and consider the facts admitted, along with the rest of the evidence in deciding the case."[1]
  1. R v Brookfield Gardens Inc., 2018 PECA 2 (CanLII), per Murphy JA, at para 25

Circumstantial Evidence

Expert Evidence

Selection

Challenge for Cause

See also: Challenge for Cause

Race

  • "Thinking about your own beliefs, would your ability to judge the evidence in this case without bias, prejudice or partiality, be affected by the fact that [accused] is black?"[1]
  1. R v McKenzie, 2018 ONSC 2764 (CanLII), per Campbell J, at para 25


Unsavoury (Vetrovec) Witnesses

See also: Disreputable and Unsavoury Witnesses

Offences

Murder

  • On the issue of intent, the Judge must instruct the jury to "consider all of the evidence" when deciding the issue of intent.[1]
  • Inferences on intent "inference that may be rebutted by evidence of intoxication".[2]
  1. R v Pruden (DJ), 2012 MBCA 62 (CanLII), per Steele JA, at para 4
  2. Pruden, ibid., at para 6

Defences