R v Chomiak, 2018 Alberta Court Of Appeal – 1st Degree Murder Upheld, Totality Of Circumstances Establishes Planning Intent


Appellant was convicted after trial of one count of first degree murder (of Ms. Chomiak, his estranged wife) and one count of second degree murder (of Ms. Bouchard), both by multiple gunshot wounds. Issue of whether trial judge erred in finding planning and deliberation to establish the first-degree murder offence. Trial judge relied on circumstantial evidence including timing, the backdrop of divorce proceedings and fact that appellant was due to pay the deceased $8000. In addition, trial court found that witness accounts of observing car headlights supported an inference that the appellant was waiting for the deceased’s partner to leave before confronting her.

Held: Appeal dismissed.

Court considered Villaroman, 2016 SCC 33 and found that the trial judge based her findings on the totality of evidence, including restraining orders against the appellant and the context of divorce proceedings. The finding was not based solely on one inference. Evidence provided “ample support” for first-degree murder.

A. Sanders – Defence Counsel