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Simon Shields, LLB

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Judges - Interjections at Trial

Civil Practice - Trial - Judicial Interjections

R v R.B. (Ont CA, 2017)

The Court of Appeal commented as follows on the issue of when a judge's interjections at trial result in it being compromised:
[4] There is a strong presumption that a judge has not unduly intervened in a trial. The question of whether the interventions led to an unfair trial is undertaken from the perspective of a reasonable observer who was present throughout the trial: R. v. Hamilton, 2011 ONCA 399 (CanLII), 271 C.C.C. (3d) 208, at paras. 29-30. Intervening frequently, without more, does not lead to a miscarriage of justice: R. v. Kitaitchik (2002), 2002 CanLII 45000 (ON CA), 166 C.C.C. (3d) 14 (Ont. C.A.). The presence or absence of objections from defence counsel to the judge’s interventions is a relevant factor, although it is not determinative: R. v. Lahouri, 2013 ONSC 2085 (CanLII), 280 C.R.R. (2d) 249 (S.C.), at para. 10.

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