Her Majesty the Queen v. Trent White

(Newfoundland & Labrador) (Criminal) (As of Right)


Criminal law - Procedure - Criminal law — Procedure — Trial fairness — Election of mode of trial — Accused alleging he was not informed of his right to elect mode of trial — Whether appellate court can overturn trial verdict on procedural fairness grounds alone without proof of prejudice.



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The respondent was charged with assault, aggravated assault, uttering a threat, and damage to property. On June 5, 2018, the Crown elected to proceed summarily on three hybrid offences, and the charge of aggravated assault was electable as to mode of trial. On the same date, the respondent’s counsel stated that the election was trial in the Provincial Court. The trial judge found the respondent guilty. The respondent appealed his convictions on the basis that his trial counsel had failed to obtain his informed instructions regarding his election as to the mode of his trial. He alleged that he had not been informed that he had a right to elect the mode of trial, resulting in a miscarriage of justice. A majority of the Court of Appeal for Newfoundland and Labrador allowed the appeal, set aside the convictions, and ordered a new trial. In dissent, Hoegg J.A. would have dismissed the appeal.