Joseph Sciascia v. Her Majesty the Queen
(Ontario) (Criminal) (By Leave)
Criminal law - Procedure, Appeals, Powers of court of appeal.
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Criminal law - Procedure - Joint trials - Appeals - Powers of courts of appeal - Appellant simultaneously tried for summary conviction criminal offences and Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, offences - Court of Appeal finding that joint trial was jurisdictional error curable by s. 686(1)(b)(iv) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, and s. 120(1)(b)(iii) of the Provincial Offences Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33 - Whether single trial court has statutory jurisdiction to try both criminal and provincial offences - If joint trial not permitted, whether s. 686(1)(b)(iv) of Criminal Code can cure absence of jurisdiction and permit appellate court to maintain conviction for dangerous operation of motor vehicle - Whether s. 120(1)(b) of Provincial Offences Act can cure absence of jurisdiction and permit appellate court to maintain conviction for failure to stop for police.
Mr. Sciascia was tried simultaneously for summary conviction criminal offences and provincial offences. On appeal, he argued that the court did not have the authority to try the offences at the same time. The summary conviction appeal court judge dismissed the appeals on the basis that the trial judge had the jurisdiction in both matters, that the rules of procedure in both trials would essentially have been the same, and that Mr. Sciascia was not prejudiced by any differences in the applicable rules of evidence. She also held that the decision R. v. Clunas,  1 S.C.R. 595, supports a more efficient and effective trial process unencumbered by artificial rules that serve no useful purpose and rest on no sound principle. The Court of Appeal found that it was an error for the joint trial to have occurred. It dismissed the appeal, however, on the basis that the jurisdictional error could be cured by s. 686(1)(b)(iv) of the Criminal Code.
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