Manslaughter – Acquittal

Our client had been visiting his mother over a holiday weekend. The deceased had previously been in a relationship with the mother and over the course of the weekend, he had approached the trailer wherein our client, his mother, and others were socializing. The deceased tried to force his way in through the door and in doing so, engaged our client. 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.

Our client 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

Mr. Verdurmen opposed our client’s statement being made evidence at the trial. He stated that the statement given to the Police was not voluntary and was the result of protracted police questioning and trickery. Mr. Verdurmen 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 our client. Our client 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 our client. 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 our client was not sufficient to prove the offence of manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt. Our client was found not guilty and acquitted of all charges.

Client: 31840

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