In a brief but meaningful decision rendered March 28, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada insisted on a new trial for Jean Philippe Mailhot, an accused individual whose right to a fair trial had been compromised by comments of the trial judge during the charge to the jury.
Rather than simply providing an impartial explanation of the law, the judge apparently put forth his own opinions about the evidence and about the defence theory of the case. A defence appeal to the Quebec Court of Appeal had been dismissed.
In an important vindication of the rights to presumption of innocence and trial by jury, the Supreme Court stated that “a new trial is required because of the effect of the trial judge’s charge on the fairness of the trial.”
Decided by the Supreme Court of Canada on March 28, 2013.
Click here for the full text of the decision.