Grounds of Appeal from Verdicts

From Criminal Law Notebook
Jump to: navigation, search

Crown Appeal

The Crown can generally appeal where there is an error in law. The Crown has a limited appeal on the basis of questions of fact. This includes appeals for unreasonable verdict.[1] However, the Crown cannot appeal on issues of credibility unless it amount to an error in law.

The sufficiency of the evidence is a question of fact and not a question of law from which the Crown can appeal.[2]

Failure to draw inferences of intent or guilt from the facts is an error of fact.[3]

There is no right to appeal by Crown for "reasonable verdict".[4] This includes unreasonable assessements of credibility.[5]

  1. R v Kendall, 2005 CanLII 21349 (ON CA), [2005] O.J. No. 2457 (Ont. C.A.), at para 46
  2. R v Sunbeam Corp., 1968 CanLII 33 (SCC), [1969] S.C.R. 221, at pp. 230-238
    R v Lampard, 1969 CanLII 695 (SCC), [1969] S.C.R. 373, at pp. 379-381
    R v Whynot (1983), 9 C.C.C. (3d) 449 (N.S.C.A.), at pp. 450-451
    R v Schuldt, 1985 CanLII 20 (SCC), [1985] 2 S.C.R. 592, at pp. 610-611
    R v Roman, 1989 CanLII 113 (SCC), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 230, at pp. 231-232
    R v B(G), 1990 CanLII 115 (SCC), [1990] 2 S.C.R. 57, at pp. 69-71
    R v Blundon (1993), 1993 CanLII 7785 (NL CA), 84 C.C.C. (3d) 249 (Nfld.C.A.), at pp. 276-280
    R v Tortone, 1993 CanLII 57 (SCC), [1993] 2 S.C.R. 973, at pp. 985-987
    R v Kent, 1994 CanLII 62 (SCC), [1994] 3 S.C.R. 133, at p. 141-143
  3. Lampard, supra Sunbeam, supra
  4. R v RGB, 2012 MBCA 5 (CanLII) at para 8
  5. RGB, ibid. at para 9

Available Grounds

Defence Appeal

Part XVIII of the Criminal Code addresses the power and procedure for appeals. Appeals of indictable offences are appealed to the provincial Court of Appeal. The Defence can appeal both issues of fact and law.(ss. 675 and 676)

The powers of the Court of Appeal to interfere with a conviction on a appeal are stated under s.686:

686. (1) On the hearing of an appeal against a conviction or against a verdict that the appellant is unfit to stand trial or not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder, the court of appeal

(a) may allow the appeal where it is of the opinion that
(i) the verdict should be set aside on the ground that it is unreasonable or cannot be supported by the evidence,
(ii) the judgment of the trial court should be set aside on the ground of a wrong decision on a question of law, or
(iii) on any ground there was a miscarriage of justice;

...[(b) addresses where appeals can be dismissed]...

(c) may refuse to allow the appeal where it is of the opinion that the trial court arrived at a wrong conclusion respecting the effect of a special verdict, may order the conclusion to be recorded that appears to the court to be required by the verdict and may pass a sentence that is warranted in law in substitution for the sentence passed by the trial court; or
(d) may set aside a conviction and find the appellant unfit to stand trial or not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder and may exercise any of the powers of the trial court conferred by or referred to in section 672.45 in any manner deemed appropriate to the court of appeal in the circumstances.

...[(e) was repealed]
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 686; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), ss. 145, 203; 1991, c. 43, s. 9; 1997, c. 18, s. 98; 1999, c. 3, s. 52, c. 5, s. 26.


As noted in the language of s. 686, these standards apply equally to a appeal from a finding of NCR or finding against fitness to stand trial.

Available Grounds