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Criminals - Appeals - Crown Appeals from Acquittal

. R. v. L.B.

In R. v. L.B. (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal considered the limitation on Crown appeals to 'questions of law' only [under CCC 676]:
[2] These grounds of appeal must be assessed in light of the fact that the Crown may only appeal an acquittal in proceedings by indictment on questions of law alone (see Criminal Code, s. 676(1)(a)). This can be contrasted with the right of an accused to appeal a conviction on grounds that it is unreasonable or not supported by the evidence (Criminal Code, s. 686(1)(a)).

[3] As we explain below, the grounds of appeal advanced by the Crown do not raise questions of law alone. We therefore dismiss the appeal.


[29] The Crown cannot appeal on the basis that the trial judge made a credibility assessment that was unreasonable. Once again, a different trial judge may well have come to a different conclusion in respect of this issue. But that is of no moment in a Crown appeal of an acquittal which, as we have emphasized, is available only on questions of law alone as per s. 676(1)(a)) of the Criminal Code.
. R. v. T.L.

In R. v. T.L. (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal noted a limit on Crown appeals:
[1] The Crown appeals T.L.’s acquittal for sexual assault of the complainant. Under s. 676(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, the Crown may only appeal an acquittal on a question of law alone. The Crown submits that the trial judge erred in law in her analysis.
. R. v. Spicer

In R. v. Spicer (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal states the test for a Crown appeal from an acquittal:
[13] Finally, even accepting that any error occurred in the trial judge’s reasoning, the SCAJ was required to determine whether any such error materially affected the trial judge’s ultimate conclusion. As this court observed in R. v. B.(S.C.) (1997), 1997 CanLII 6319 (ON CA), 36 O.R. (3d) 516 (C.A.), at para. 44:
On a Crown appeal from acquittal, an appellate court may only order a new trial if it is reasonably certain that the trial judge would not necessarily have acquitted the accused had no error been made: [citation omitted]. In R. v. Evans 1993 CanLII 102 (SCC), [1993] 2 S.C.R. 629, 82 C.C.C. (3d) 338 at p. 350, Cory J. emphasized that "the Crown must satisfy the court with a reasonable degree of certainty that the verdict would not necessarily have been the same." He stressed that this "is a very heavy onus and it is fitting that it should be.”


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Last modified: 08-02-24
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