News & Media

Court Cannot Expect Perfection – Self Defence Cases

January 13, 2017

In 2016, a case came before the Ontario Court of Appeal, R. v. Cunha, 2016 ONCA, that clarified a person’s right to self-defence. In the initial trial, Cunha was charged with aggravated assault and discharging a firearm with intent to wound; this was in response to two men breaking into his home, one of whom was carrying a shotgun. The man Cunha shot was not the one carrying the gun, but his defence was that he did not know this when he began shooting. The trial judge convicted Cunha, leading to this decision being appealed. 

The Ontario Court of Appeal found that the trial judge had made legal errors in reaching his decision, and overruled it. “This was plainly a case for the court to keep in mind that in considering the reasonableness of the defendant’s use of defensive force, the court must be alive to the fact that people in stressful and dangerous situations do not have time for subtle reflection. However, the trial judge held the appellant to a standard of perfection” [para. 25].  

Please, enter a valid value

Call Us (416) 477-6022