Fawzi Bidawi v. Her Majesty the Queen
(Ont.) (Criminal) (By Leave)
Criminal law - Limitation of actions, Procedure - Criminal law — Limitation of actions — Procedure — Summary conviction proceedings —Whether amendments to Information amounted to the institution of new offences — Whether amending Information more than six months after time when subject matter of summary conviction proceedings arose violates s. 786 of Criminal Code?.
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Mr. Bidawi was tried in summary conviction proceedings. He was charged in Count 2 that he did store a firearm, a shotgun, in a careless manner however in issue was an allegation that he carelessly transported the shotgun in his vehicle. He was charged in Count 3 that he did store ammunition in a careless manner contrary however in issue was careless storage of a firearm. He was tried in summary conviction proceedings. Summary conviction offences attract a 6 month limitation period. After closing its case, Crown counsel applied to re-open the case to amend the Information. The trial judge permitted Crown counsel to amend the Information to change “store” to “transport” in count 2 and “ammunition” to “firearm” in count 3. Mr. Bidawi was convicted for careless transportation of a firearm contrary to s. 86(2) of the Criminal Code based on breach of s. 10(2)(b) of the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations, SOR/98 209. He was convicted for carelessly storing a firearm contrary to s. 86(2) of the Criminal Code based on breach of s. 5(1) of the Regulations. A summary conviction appeal was allowed and acquittals entered on the basis that the amendments instituted new proceedings outside the limitation period applicable to summary conviction offences and the evidence did not support convictions on the original charges. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal and reinstated the convictions.
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