Thomas Moffit v. Her Majesty the Queen

(Ontario) (Criminal) (By Leave)


Criminal law - Charge to jury.


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Criminal law — Charge to jury — Bad character evidence — Post-offence conduct — Accused convicted of second degree murder for death of his domestic partner — Whether trial judge erred in his instructions to jury about relevance of evidence of accused’s post-offence conduct — Whether trial judge erred in his instructions about evidence that jury heard, both admissible and inadmissible, of accused’s bad character.

Following a trial by judge and jury, the applicant, Mr. Thomas Moffit, was convicted of second degree murder for the death of his domestic partner, Ms. Shelley Marie Mathieu-Read, and was sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for at least 17 years. Ms. Mathieu-Read has not been seen or heard from since 2007. Her body was never found. The Crown’s case at trial relied heavily on the testimony of Mr. Moffit’s sister, Ms. Kathy Long, to whom he had apparently confessed his role in Ms. Mathieu-Read’s disappearance. Mr. Moffit argued the Crown had failed to prove both that Ms. Mathieu-Read was dead and that he was involved in her death. In the alternative, he submitted that if the jury was satisfied that Ms. Mathieu-Read was dead, and that he caused her death, the jury should find him guilty of manslaughter and not murder. Mr. Moffit appealed his conviction, but unsuccessfully.