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Self defence approach addressed in Court of Appeal decision

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When a charge is laid against someone on the province of Ontario, there are multiple approaches that might be taken to defend against it. Because no two cases are exactly alike, when deciding the best way to proceed, it is important to look to the specifics of the alleged criminal incident. It is possible those facts could result in a defense that may not be obvious. In some cases self defence could be claimed. Recently, the Court of Appeal addressed this issue.

In the case, a man was accused of and convicted of shooting another individual twice. That action allegedly occurred after the men took an altercation that started in a building, outside. The accused reportedly shot the other man when the victim began to turn around, despite being told to “freeze.” The decision to do so was characterized as “a split-second decision.”

Before the man was brought before the Court of Appeal, a judge in a lower court dismissed the testimony of the accused after no witnesses corroborated what he said. A justice with the Court of Appeal disagreed with this approach. Specifically he said the approach separated the sequence of events in a manner that was unreasonable. In addition, he also took issues with the trial judge’s findings pertaining to the state of mind of the accused. Overall this approach resulted in a separation of related events that was done in an artificial way.

As a result of the recent decision the accused will receive a new trial.

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