Trial Verdicts

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Introduction

The judge's duty is to render a verdict on the charges. The verdict must be either a finding of guilt, stay of proceedings, or acquittal.

The judge has the ability, where the evidence does not make out the actual charge, to convict for included offences to the original charge under s. 662.

Under s. 804, at the conclusion of a summary conviction trial, the court must either (a) convict the accused; (b) discharge him under s.730; (c) make an order against him; or (d) dismiss the information.[1]

Procedure

Section 570 sets out the required forms the court should use when recording a verdict of any type.

Attempts vs Full Offence

See also: Lesser Included Offences

Full offence charged, attempt proved
660. Where the complete commission of an offence charged is not proved but the evidence establishes an attempt to commit the offence, the accused may be convicted of the attempt.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 587.
Attempt charged, full offence proved
661. (1) Where an attempt to commit an offence is charged but the evidence establishes the commission of the complete offence, the accused is not entitled to be acquitted, but the jury may convict him of the attempt unless the judge presiding at the trial, in his discretion, discharges the jury from giving a verdict and directs that the accused be indicted for the complete offence.
Conviction a bar
(2) An accused who is convicted under this section is not liable to be tried again for the offence that he was charged with attempting to commit.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 588.
Offence charged, part only proved
662. (1) A count in an indictment is divisible and where the commission of the offence charged, as described in the enactment creating it or as charged in the count, includes the commission of another offence, whether punishable by indictment or on summary conviction, the accused may be convicted

(a) of an offence so included that is proved, notwithstanding that the whole offence that is charged is not proved; or
(b) of an attempt to commit an offence so included.

...
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 662; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 134; 2000, c. 2, s. 3; 2008, c. 6, s. 38.


CCC

Finding of Guilt

See also: Guilty Plea

Upon the conclusion of a summary conviction trial and the judge convicts the accused. He must make a "minute or memorandum" of the conviction.[1] Either the accused, the crown, or anyone else may request a certificate of conviction in compliance with Form 35 or 36[2]

A finding of "guilt" is separate and distinct from a "conviction". It is only the finding of guilt which permits a judge to enter a conviction. A conviction is not however the only option of a judge, for example she may also consider a conditional stay of proceedings on the basis of the kienapple principle. [3]

Record of conviction or order
570. (1) Where an accused who is tried under this Part is determined by a judge or provincial court judge to be guilty of an offence on acceptance of a plea of guilty or on a finding of guilt, the judge or provincial court judge, as the case may be, shall endorse the information accordingly and shall sentence the accused or otherwise deal with the accused in the manner authorized by law and, on request by the accused, the prosecutor, a peace officer or any other person, shall cause a conviction in Form 35 and a certified copy of it, or an order in Form 36 and a certified copy of it, to be drawn up and shall deliver the certified copy to the person making the request.
...
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 570; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), ss. 112, 203, c. 1 (4th Supp.), s. 18(F); 1994, c. 44, s. 59; 2003, c. 21, s. 10.


CCC

Memo of conviction or order
806. (1) Where a defendant is convicted or an order is made in relation to the defendant, a minute or memorandum of the conviction or order shall be made by the summary conviction court indicating that the matter was dealt with under this Part and, on request by the defendant, the prosecutor or any other person, the court shall cause a conviction or order in Form 35 or 36, as the case may be, and a certified copy of the conviction or order to be drawn up and shall deliver the certified copy to the person making the request.
Warrant of committal
(2) Where a defendant is convicted or an order is made against him, the summary conviction court shall issue a warrant of committal in Form 21 or 22, and section 528 applies in respect of a warrant of committal issued under this subsection.
Admissibility of certified copy
(3) Where a warrant of committal in Form 21 is issued by a clerk of a court, a copy of the warrant of committal, certified by the clerk, is admissible in evidence in any proceeding.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 806; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 185(F); 1994, c. 44, s. 80.


CCC

  1. s. 806(1)
  2. s. 806(1)
  3. R v Bérubé, 2012 BCCA 345 (CanLII) at paras 43 to 52 per Groberman JA

Vacating a Finding of Guilt

A trial judge maintains jurisdiction up until sentencing to vacate a finding of guilt and replace it with a finding of not guilty.[1] This occurrence is "rare" and should only arise in "exceptional circumstances".[2] If a judge is considering to vacate a verdict, he must permit counsel to provide further submissions.[3]

  1. e.g. R v Griffith, 2013 ONCA 510 (CanLII)
  2. Griffith
  3. Griffith at paras 33 to 36

Conditional Stay

A conditional stay is a post-trial verdict for a charge which, on the evidence would amount to a conviction, but is barred from doing so due to the rule against multiple convictions.[1] The stay is conditional until such time as the charge in which a conviction was entered is finally disposed of on appeal or the expiration of the appeal period.[2] If an appeal is successfully made from conviction the conditional stay is dissolved allowing the court of appeal to remit the charge for trial once more.

  1. R v Provo 1989 CanLII 71 (SCC) at para 21 per Wilson J
  2. R v Terlecki, 1985 CanLII 16 (SCC), [1985] 2 SCR 483 at p 529, per Dickson CJ
    R v Jewitt, 1985 CanLII 47, [1985] 2 SCR 128 per Dickson CJ

Acquittal

There is only one type of acquittal. It does not distinguish or qualify the basis of the acquittal.[1]

The criminal law does not make a distinction between actual innocence and mere failure to meet the criminal standard. Findings of actual innocence does not fall within the purpose of criminal law.[2]

An aquittal only establishes "legal innocence" but does not address "factual innocence". [3]

From the Crown's perspective who may seek to prosecute the accused, an acquittal is to be treated as the functional "equivalent to a finding of innocence".[4]

570.
...
Acquittal and record of acquittal
(2) Where an accused who is tried under this Part is found not guilty of an offence with which the accused is charged, the judge or provincial court judge, as the case may be, shall immediately acquit the accused in respect of that offence and shall cause an order in Form 37 to be drawn up, and on request shall make out and deliver to the accused a certified copy of the order.
...
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 570; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), ss. 112, 203, c. 1 (4th Supp.), s. 18(F); 1994, c. 44, s. 59; 2003, c. 21, s. 10.


CCC

An acquittal order should use Form 37.

  1. R v Grdic 1985 CanLII 34 (SCC), (1985), 19 CCC (3d) 289 (S.C.C.) at pp. 293 to 294 per Lamer CJ
  2. R v Mullins-Johnson, 2007 ONCA 720 (CanLII)
  3. Mullins-Johnson, ibid.
  4. Grdic - re consideration of res judicata and ability to re-prosecute accused
    R v Grant 1991 CanLII 38 (SCC), (1991), 67 CCC (3d) 268 per Lamer CJ

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