John Thomas Shaoulle v. Her Majesty the Queen

(Saskatchewan) (Criminal) (As of Right)


Criminal law.


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Criminal law - Appeals - Unreasonable verdict - Accused convicted of first degree murder -Whether the verdict appealed against was one that a properly instructed trier of fact acting judicially could reasonably have rendered.

Mr. Shaoulle was convicted of first degree murder by a judge sitting without a jury. The naked and partially burned body of the victim, Margaret Sewap, was found on April 8, 2011 in Prince Albert. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled. The case for the Crown was composed entirely of circumstantial evidence. Mr. Shaoulle did not call any defence evidence and did not testify. Mr. Shaoulle appealed his conviction on the sole ground that the verdict was unreasonable or could not be supported by the evidence. The majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal. Klebuc J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal and entered an acquittal. He was of the view that a properly instructed jury, acting judicially, could not have concluded beyond a reasonable doubt, based on the circumstantial evidence, the post-offence conduct evidence and other evidence before the trial judge, that Mr. Shaoulle was the killer.