Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Inconsistent Verdicts

R. v. Catton, 2015 ONCA 13:

[21]       Inconsistent verdicts are a subspecies of unreasonable verdicts: R. v. Pittiman, [2006] 1 S.C.R. 381 at para. 6. If a trier of fact returns a conviction on one count (or against one accused), and an acquittal on another count (or against a co-accused), the inconsistency in the verdicts will only render the conviction unreasonable if the appellant can demonstrate that on any realistic view of the evidence, the verdicts cannot be reconciled on any rational or logical basis: R. v. McShannock (1980), 55 C.C.C. (2d) 53 (Ont. C.A.) at 56; Pittiman, at paras. 7-8.

[22]       As explained in Pittiman at paras. 7-8, because juries give no reasons for their verdicts, it can be difficult to attack jury verdicts as inconsistent. Verdicts that may at first impression appear inconsistent can often be explained by distinctions in the essential elements of the different offences or in the quality of the evidence relevant to the different offences.

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