R. v. Braich (A.) (2002), 164 B.C.A.C. 1 (SCC);

    268 W.A.C. 1

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Temp. Cite: [2002] B.C.A.C. TBEd. MR.031

Her Majesty the Queen (appellant) v. Ajmer Braich and Sukhminder Braich (respondents)

(27843; 2002 SCC 27)

Indexed As: R. v. Braich (A.) et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

Gonthier, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour and LeBel, JJ.

March 21, 2002.


The accused were charged with the first degree murder of one person, three counts of attempted murder of three other persons, and alternative counts of aggravated assault on those same three persons.

The trial judge, sitting without a jury, acquitted the accused of first degree murder but convicted them of manslaughter. He also convicted them of aggravated assault instead of attempted murder of the other three vic­tims. The accused appealed the convictions.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal, Southin, J.A., dissenting, in a decision re­ported in 136 B.C.A.C. 76; 222 W.A.C. 76, allowed the appeals, set aside the convictions and ordered a new trial on indictments for manslaughter and aggravated assault. Southin, J.A., delivered supplementary dis­senting reasons (see 140 B.C.A.C. 27; 229 W.A.C. 27). The Crown appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal and restored the convictions.

Courts – Topic 583

Judges – Duties – Re reasons for decisions – The accused were allegedly involved in a drive-by shooting – One person was killed and three were injured – At issue was identification – The accused were convicted of one count of manslaughter and three counts of aggravated assault – The Court of Appeal quashed the convic­tions – The court held that the convictions were “unsafe” because the trial judge’s reasons did not sufficiently deal with, inter alia, the possibility of collusion, frailties in the eyewitness identification evidence and inconsistencies – The Supreme Court of Canada held that the trial judge’s reasons were sufficient – Identification was the focus of the trial judge’s reasons – There was no doubt what he decided and how he reached his decision – He accepted the identification evidence as credible and reliable – He resolved difficulties with the evidence against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt – His analysis of the identification evidence was sufficient to satisfy the functional requirements of providing a decision that was reasonably intelligible to the parties and provided a basis for meaningful appellate review of the correctness of the decision.

Criminal Law – Topic 4684

Procedure – Judgments and reasons for judgment – Reasons for judgment – Suffi­ciency of – [See
Courts – Topic 583

Criminal Law – Topic 5241

Evidence – Witnesses – Identification – Eye witness identification – [See
Courts – Topic 583

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Sheppard (C.) (2002), 211 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 50; 633 A.P.R. 50; 284 N.R. 342 (S.C.C.), folld. [para. 2].

R. v. D.R., H.R. and D.W., [1996] 2 S.C.R. 291; 197 N.R. 321; 144 Sask.R. 81; 124 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Burke (J.) (No. 3), [1996] 1 S.C.R. 474; 194 N.R. 247; 139 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 147; 433 A.P.R. 147, refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Feeney (M.), [1997] 2 S.C.R. 13; 212 N.R. 83; 91 B.C.A.C. 1; 148 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 38].

R. v. Biniaris (J.), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 381; 252 N.R. 204; 134 B.C.A.C. 161; 219 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 39].


W.J. Scott Bell, for the appellant;

Richard C.C. Peck, Q.C., and Nikos Harris, for the respondent Ajmer Braich;

William B. Smart, Q.C., for the respon­dent Sukhminder Braich.

Solicitors of Record:

The Ministry of Attorney General, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the appellant;

Peck and Company, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the respondent, Ajmer Braich;

Smart and Williams, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the respondent, Sukhmin­der Braich.

This appeal was heard on June 21, 2001, by Gonthier, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour and LeBel, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. On March 21, 2002, Binnie, J., delivered the following judgment for the Court in both official languages.


R. v. Braich (A.) et al.

[2002] 1 SCR 903

Supreme Court of Canada
Reading Time:
16 minutes
Arbour, Bastarache, Binnie, Gonthier, Iacobucci, LeBel, Major 

Binnie, J.
: In this case, a majority judgment of the British Columbia Court of Appeal reversed the conviction of the two respondents for manslaughter in the death of a bystander in a “drive-by shooting” and for aggravated assault on three other victims. The killing occurred during some Indo-Canadian games at Royal Kwantlen Park in Surrey, British Columbia. The trial was heard by a judge without a jury. While the appeal court acknowledged that there was evidence that supported the conviction, McEachern, C.J.B.C., considered the conviction to be “unsafe” because the “frailties” of the identification evidence had not been subjected in the reasons for judgment to sufficient “judicial investigation or analysis”. This deficiency he found to be an error in law. The conviction was therefore quashed, Southin, J.A., dissenting, and a new trial ordered.

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