Christopher Sheriffe v. Her Majesty the Queen

(Ontario) (Criminal) (By Leave)




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Criminal Law – Evidence – Hearsay – Courts – Jurisdiction – Jury Selection – Under the principled exception to the hearsay rule, whether information from confidential informants can be considered necessary because they cannot be identified or called as witnesses and whether reliability can be established by their police handler – Whether the jury selection procedure in this case resulted in the jury being improperly constituted?

Mr. Sheriffe and Mr. Asfaha were jointly tried for first degree murder in relation to the fatal shooting of Bishen Golaub. During selection of a jury, defence counsel intended to challenge members of the jury panel. Counsel for Mr. Sheriffe requested rotating triers with the jury panel excluded from the room during the selection of the jury. After a discussion with counsel regarding the jury selection process, the trial judge chose to use static triers with the jury panel excluded from the room. At trial, a police expert in street gangs testified that, according to confidential informants, Mr. Sheriffe was a member of a gang involved in a gang war. The Crown argued that Mr. Golaub was shot by Mr. Asfaha after he was mistakenly identified as a member of the rival gang and Mr. Sheriffe drove the get-away car. Mr. Sheriffe and Mr. Asfaha testified. Each claimed innocence and gave testimony incriminating the other. Both were convicted by the jury of first degree murder. They appealed jointly and their appeal was dismissed.

Lower Court Rulings

July 5, 2012
Ontario Superior Court of Justice

11/50000200/0000, 2012 ONSC 387
Conviction by jury, First degree murder
December 14, 2015
Court of Appeal for Ontario

C56713, 2015 ONCA 880
Appeal dismissed