In R. v. Biya 2021 ONCA 171, released on March 19, the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered a new trial for Abadula Biya, who in 2018 was convicted on several firearms-related charges as well as possession of a Schedule I controlled substance (MDEA) for the purpose of trafficking and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Ottawa criminal defence lawyer Michael Spratt said the court’s ruling serves as a reminder of the importance of evidence that might raise a reasonable doubt.
“There were multiple people in the vehicle and for the judge to say that the gun couldn’t have been in possession of someone else, she reached for facts that weren’t in evidence to opine about the impossibility of taking apart and stowing a gun in a certain amount of time,” said Spratt, a partner with Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP.
“If that were such an important factor in the adjudication of the case, the Crown should have presented that evidence. But in the absence of such evidence, courts can’t take judicial notice of those facts.”
Read Chris Guly’s full article: Lawyer’s Daily