Ahmed Abdullahi v. His Majesty the King
(Ontario) (Criminal) (As of Right)
Criminal law — Charge to jury — Offences — Definition — Participating in activities of criminal organization for purpose of trafficking weapons — What constitutes adequate jury instruction on definition of “criminal organization” under s. 467.1 (1) of Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, with respect to essential elements of structure and continuity?
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At trial before judge and jury, the appellant, Ahmed Abdullahi was convicted of various gun-related offences including one count of participation in the activities of a criminal organization for the purpose of trafficking weapons, contrary to s. 467.11 of the Criminal Code. The charges resulted from a police investigation dubbed “Project Traveller”.
A majority of the Court of Appeal (per Brown J.A. with Trotter J.A. concurring) dismissed the three grounds the appellant raised pertaining to his conviction appeal. First, the majority rejected his argument that the trial judge erred in admitting the opinion evidence of the Somali-language translator regarding portions of intercepted communications. Second, the majority held that the trial judge did not err in failing to charge the jury adequately on the definition of “criminal organization” in s. 467.1(1) of the Criminal Code. The appellant had submitted on appeal that the charge did not provide guidance on the requisite degree of structure and continuity mentioned in R. v. Venneri, 2012 SCC 33, to constitute a criminal organization. On this point, the majority concluded that defence counsel’s lack of objection was indicative of the legal adequacy of the trial judge’s instructions on this definition given the evidence heard by the jury and the positions taken by the parties in closing submissions. Third, the majority held the trial judge did not err in charging the jury that they could consider certain after-the-fact conduct.
In dissent, Paciocco J.A. only disagreed on one ground of the conviction appeal: he would have concluded that the trial judge erred by failing to adequately charge the jury on the “criminal organization” definition in s. 467.1(1) and would have therefore set aside the appellant’s conviction for the count setting out the offence at s. 467.11 of the Criminal Code of “participating in the activities of a criminal organization for the purpose of trafficking weapons” and ordered a new trial on that charge.
Lower Court Rulings
Ontario Superior Court of Justice
2015 ONSC 2806
Court of Appeal for Ontario
2021 ONCA 82, C61787
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