Criminal Law: Homicide

R. v. Deslauriers, 2020 QCCA 4842021 SCC 3 (39131) 

The Chief Justice: “The Crown appeals as of right on questions of law further to the majority judgment of the Quebec Court of Appeal setting aside the guilty verdict entered by Judge Joëlle Roy of the Court of Québec and ordering a new trial. A majority of this Court would dismiss the appeal for the reasons given by Chamberland J.A. Judge Roy erred in law in denying Mr. Deslauriers the right to obtain and, if need be, file documents relating to the existence of three criminal investigations and a report from the Centre jeunesse des Laurentides involving the victim. There was a likely and reasonable possibility that the information in question could assist Mr. Deslauriers in exercising his right to make full answer and defence. Moreover, Judge Roy erred in her interpretation and treatment of the evidence crucial to the accused, such as to cause a miscarriage of justice. Because of our reasons, however, it is not necessary to dispose of this question already decided by the Quebec Court of Appeal. Judge Roy also erred in her treatment of the testimony given by an expert, Mr. Poulin, concerning Mr. Deslauriers’s conduct as a police officer, which was central to his defences. Finally, although it is not necessary to deal with the recusation aspect of the judgment under appeal, and insofar as the Crown wishes to continue the proceedings leading to a second trial, it will have to proceed before another trial judge. For these reasons, the appeal is dismissed. Abella and Brown JJ. are of the view that the documents sought by the defence do not meet the threshold of “likely relevance” within the meaning of R. v. O’Connor, [1995] 4 S.C.R. 411, and R. v. McNeil, 2009 SCC 3, [2009] 1 S.C.R. 66. They are also of the view that the expert, Bruno Poulin, strayed beyond the proper scope of his expert evidence and that his testimony was neither relevant nor necessary within the meaning of R. v. Sekhon, 2014 SCC 15, [2014] 1 S.C.R. 272. For these reasons, they would have allowed the appeal, set aside the Court of Appeal’s judgment and restored the guilty verdict.”