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PROCEDURE - Trial judge’s duties - Charge or directions - Defences

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 @ 8:48 AM  

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Appeal by the accused, Ranglin, from a conviction for first degree murder. In 2011, the victim was shot and killed while sitting in a vehicle behind an apartment building. The sole issue at trial was identity of the shooter. The accused was one of four suspects. The defence theory was that one of those suspects, Murray, was the shooter. Two of the other suspects, Borden and Moy-Lingomba, were charged and committed to stand trial following a preliminary inquiry. Borden reached an agreement with the Crown whereby he implicated the accused as the shooter and pled guilty to being an accessory after the fact. Borden testified that he saw the accused shoot the victim and drive away from the scene. Moy-Lingomba refused to cooperate. The charges against him were stayed. At trial, he testified as a hostile witness. He stated that he did not see who shot the victim. He testified that he saw Murray in the vicinity wearing green clothing. Another eyewitness testified that the shooter wore green and had dark skin, whereas the accused had lighter skin. The accused was convicted following a trial by judge and jury. He appealed on the basis that the trial judge erred in multiple ways in instructing the jury.   

HELD: Appeal dismissed. In the context of the trial judge’s instructions on hearsay evidence, and considering the issues framed by counsel, and the input to the instructions by defence counsel, it was not established that the jury was misled about the proper use it could make of a KGB statement uttered by Moy-Lingomba to a police informant. The statement provided evidence of the accused's motive to kill the victim. The trial judge did not err in concluding that Vetrovec warnings were appropriate in respect of the testimony of Borden and Moy-Lingomba given their circumstances and credibility issues. Given the prior input of counsel, the judge's accompanying repetition of the confirmatory evidence in the Crown's closing address did not render the trial unfair. The trial judge did not err in the way the third-party suspect defence was left with the jury. There was nothing objectionable in the instructions regarding the eyewitness testimony given by way of videotape, and the way it was incorporated into the instructions regarding the third-party suspect defence.

R. v. Ranglin, [2018] O.J. No. 6633, Ontario Court of Appeal, D.H. Doherty, D.M. Brown and G.T. Trotter JJ.A., December 18, 2018. Digest No. TLD-February112019004