Client originally charged with second-degree murder in the death of an elderly male. Incident occurred at the client’s apartment, and both parties were intoxicated. Evidence suggested that the man died from a single stab wound to the shoulder inflicted by the female client. She called 911, reporting at the same time that the man had attacked her. Defence intended to argue that client should be acquitted as she was acting in self-defence.
Following a preliminary inquiry and committal to stand trial on the murder charge, the defence was successful in persuading the Crown to drop the charge down to the lesser offence of manslaughter. Before the scheduled jury trial, Defence brought an application for a challenge for cause to allow potential jurors to be questioned during the jury selection process. Client was an Indigenous woman and Defence had concerns that racism could affect her right to a fair trial. After a pre-trial hearing, the Court permitted the questions the Defence wished to ask, including a question about whether people were aware of stereotypical views against Aboriginal people, before asking whether they could be impartial if they were selected to be on the jury.
HELD: Shortly before trial, a stay of proceedings was entered by the Crown on the basis that there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction.