Devante George-Nurse v. Her Majesty the Queen

(Ont.) (Criminal) (As of Right)


Criminal law - Reasonable verdict - Criminal law - Circumstantial evidence - Reasonable verdict - Whether the verdicts were unreasonable - Whether an inference of guilt was the only reasonable inference available - Whether the appellant’s failure to testify allowed an adverse inference to be drawn.


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Mr. George-Nurse, appellant, was convicted of one count of intentionally discharging a firearm while reckless as to the life or safety of another person and one count of occupying a motor vehicle while knowing there was a firearm in the vehicle. The Crown alleged that he counselled the driver of the SUV he was in to shoot at or near a particular person as retaliation for damage that had been done to his mother’s car. Mr. George-Nurse argued that the circumstantial evidence was consistent with a number of possibilities other than his having counselled the driver to shoot. On appeal, Mr. George-Nurse argued the verdicts were unreasonable. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Hourigan J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal and entered acquittals.