Manslaughter – Acquittal

The accused had been visiting his mother in a trailer over a holiday weekend. The deceased had previously been in a relationship with the mother. Over the course of the weekend, he had approached a trailer wherein the accused, his mother, and others were socializing. The deceased tried to force his way in through the door and in doing so, engaged the accused. In gripping each other the two went over the stairs outside the trailer. Shortly after midnight, the deceased was found in his trailer with no signs of life and a pathologist that was brought to trial gave evidence that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

The accused was eventually arrested and brought to the Kelowna Police detachment for questioning. After a brief conversation with counsel, an RCMP Specialized Interview Team vigorously interviewed him over a 3 day weekend. Eventually, he gave a statement to the police.

Defence Action
We opposed the accused’s statement being made evidence at the trial. We stated that the statement given to the Police was not voluntary and was the result of protracted police questioning and trickery. We pointed particularly to a police scenario in the Kelowna cells, whereby a planted cellmate was confronting the RCMP at the detachment asking for a phone call. He was eventually tasered and returned to his cell with the accused. The accused spent a number of days in the cells with this planted officer who had been ostensibly treated in this manner by the police.

Decision
The Supreme Court Judge having heard the evidence surrounding the taking of the statement excluded it from being used as evidence at the trial. She found that police trickery had been used and that the police questioning eventually overbore the will of the accused. The statement was not voluntary and could not be used at the trial. The evidence which was called at trial with the absence of the statement given to the police by the accused was not sufficient to prove the offense of manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused was found not guilty and acquitted of all charges.

(2018) B.C.J. 883 and 888 BCSC

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