SCC Case Information
John Virgil Punko v. Her Majesty the Queen
(British Columbia) (Criminal) (By Leave)
Criminal law - Trials, Pre-trial procedure.
Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch) for information purposes only.
Criminal Law — Trial — Pre trial proceedings — Issue estoppel — Whether trial judge erred in applying balance of probabilities standard of proof to decide whether requirements of issue estoppel were satisfied — Whether Court of Appeal erred in determining that the erroneous application of a legal standard might reasonably have had a material bearing on the acquittal.
The applicant was charged with offences under the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The Criminal Code offences were prosecuted before a jury. The jury acquitted the applicant of criminal organization offences that required in part proof that the offences were committed for the benefit of, and at the direction of, the East End Charter of the Hells Angels. The applicant was sentenced in the Criminal Code proceedings on convictions for other offences. A trial of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act charges proceeded and included a charge of instructing the commission of the production and trafficking of methamphetamine for the benefit of, and at the direction of, the East End Charter of the Hells Angels. In a pre trial motion, the trial judge acquitted the applicant of the criminal organization offence because the Crown was estopped from leading evidence to prove that the East End Charter of the Hells Angels was a criminal organization by the verdicts and reasons for sentencing in the Criminal Code proceedings. The applicant pled guilty to the other charges.