Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Where a verdict is not unreasonable, inadequate reasons will rarely ground an appeal

R. v. Chau, 2012 ONCA 501 deals with insufficient reasons in the context of a straightforward, short, case where the decision was reasonable. The Court held
that while the reasons were thin, in the circumstances they were sufficient:

[7]          As indicated, we have concluded that the trial judge's finding that the Appellant was connected to the apartment and therefore the grow-op is supported by the evidence and that accordingly the verdict is not unreasonable.

[8]          It follows that the only argument that remains available to the Appellant is that the reasons do not allow for appellate review. See, R. v. Sheppard, [2002] 1 S.C.R. 869 at para. 28.  However, in Sheppard at para. 50 Binnie J. expressed the view that a finding that the verdict is not unreasonable, yet the appeal is nevertheless frustrated by inadequate reasons, would be rare.

[9]          This is not one of those rare situations.  The evidence was straight-forward.  In fact, the Crown's case consisted of facts what were agreed-upon and documents that were admitted, on consent. While, we agree with Appellant's counsel that the reasons could have more comprehensively dealt with the trial judge's analysis of the one issue upon which the case depended, the basis of the finding that the Appellant was connected with the grow-op is apparent from the record.

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