Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review of evidence in charge to jury

R. v. McPherson, 2014 ONCA 223:

[26]       In a jury charge, except in rare cases where it would be needless to do so, the trial judge must review the substantial parts of the evidence and the theory of the defence so that the jury may appreciate the value and effect of that evidence and how the law is to be applied to the facts: see Azoulay v. The Queen, [1952] 2 S.C.R. 495, at pp. 497-98.  That said, a jury charge does not require a standard of perfection: see R. v. Jacquard, [1997] 1 S.C.R. 314, at para. 2.  As stated by Lamer C.J. at para. 14 of that decision:

As long as an appellate court, when looking at the trial judge's charge to the jury as a whole, concludes that the jury was left with a sufficient understanding of the facts as they relate to the relevant issues, the charge is proper. 

[39]       Moreover, the trial judge was not obligated to review all of the evidence: see Stubbs, at para. 136; R. v. Daley, [2007] 3 S.C.R. 523, at para. 55; Azoulay, at p. 498.  The jury in this case was well equipped to understand and determine the issue of planning and deliberation and whether the appellant should be convicted of first degree murder.  In my view, the charge to the jury was fair.  There was no miscarriage of justice.

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