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'Unequal' jury instructions in criminal case lead to retrial

Thursday, January 26, 2017 @ 7:00 PM | By Michael Benedict

Judges presiding over criminal trials involving multiple counts must take special care to ensure their jury instructions warn specifically against the dangers of “propensity reasoning,” the B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled in ordering a new trial for a man convicted of sex offences involving two of his daughters.

“The very limited instructions that the judge gave were…simply unequal to the task,” Justice Harvey Groberman wrote on behalf of the court. “They did little more than bring home to the jury that it must reach separate...