Voir dire regarding admissibility of similar fact evidence. Accused charged with criminal harassment and uttering threats based on an email allegedly sent from accused to complainant. The accused had previously pleaded guilty to other charges of harassment and threats against the same complainant.  Crown sought to introduce evidence with respect to the previous convictions, including various emails, for the purposes of establishing identity, animus and motive, actus reus and mens rea.

Held: some similar fact evidence admitted.

Prior emails were inadmissible: the electronic communications did not have enough similarities or a “unique trademark” to admit the emails for the purpose of establishing identity. Admitting all of the information sought by the Crown raised significant concerns regarding prejudice. However, admitting the informations and transcripts related to the prior guilty pleas, for the purpose of establishing animus, actus reus and mens rea, was “probative and not unduly prejudicial”: Ford, 2000 CanLII 5701 (Ont CA).

W. Willier – Defence Counsel