Shawn Metzger v. His Majesty the King
(Alberta) (Criminal) (As of Right)
Criminal law - Evidence, Assessment, Reasonable verdict - Criminal law — Evidence — Assessment — Doctrine of recent possession — Reasonable verdict — Whether the verdicts of guilt were unreasonable — Whether the lower courts erred in the application of the law of the doctrine of recent possession — Whether the majority of the Court of Appeal of Alberta erred in law in drawing a negative inference on appeal because the appellant did not testify at trial.
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The appellant was charged with multiple offences in relation to a home invasion robbery that took place on or about June 24, 2017. After stealing the homeowner’s possessions, the intruders drove off in his truck. The truck was located 11 hours later. A cigarette butt was seized by police from underneath the driver’s seat and tested for DNA, which returned a single profile matching the appellant. The trial judge convicted the appellant of breaking and entering to steal a firearm, two counts of robbery, and disguise with intent. Various other charges were conditionally stayed. The appellant appealed the convictions, but the majority of the Court of Appeal of Alberta dismissed his appeal. The majority held that the trial judge did not misapprehend the evidence related to the appellant’s recent possession of the stolen truck, or err in relying on the doctrine of recent possession to infer the appellant’s guilt for the home invasion robbery. It also held that the verdicts of guilt were reasonable. Veldhuis J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal and substituted verdicts of acquittals on all counts. She concluded that the trial judge erred in his application of the law of the doctrine of recent possession and that the verdicts of guilt were unreasonable.
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