Accused elected trial by Judge and Jury. Ahead of jury selection, defence filed application to determine whether the amendments abolishing peremptory challenges in s 269 of C-75, which took effect September 19, 2019, were retrospective or prospective in their effect. Accused argued the legislation affects substantive rights and therefore operates prospectively. Crown argued the amendment is purely procedural and carries retrospective impact.
Held: The amendments to peremptory challenges in Bill C-75 operate prospectively.
The Court reviewed Dineley [2012 SCC 58] and the decision of Walsh, J in Leblanc and held, “[t]he removal of peremptory challenges (in addition to judicial powers to remove perspective jurors) affects an Accused’s Charter rights to a representative and impartial jury. The substantive rights of an Accused are thereby impacted. Additionally, the strong presumption against retrospectivity is not displaced by the language of Bill C-75. Rather, that language supports a deliberate intention to have s 269 of this legislation operate prospectively.”
M. Duckett, QC – Defence Counsel