R. v. Carter (1982), 46 N.B.R.(2d) 142 (SCC);

    46 R.N.-B.(2e) 142; 121 A.P.R. 142

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R. v. Carter

Indexed As: R. v. Carter

Répertorié: R. v. Carter

Supreme Court of Canada

Laskin, C.J.C., Ritchie, Dickson, Estey and McIntyre, JJ.

June 23, 1982.



The accused was acquitted on a charge of conspiracy by a judge and jury. The Crown appealed on the ground that the trial judge erred in instructing the jury on the burden of proof necessary to invoke the conspirator’s exception to the hearsay rule.

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal in a judgment reported 31 N.B.R.(2d) 371; 75 A.P.R. 371, dismissed the appeal. The Crown appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial, because the trial judge imposed too high a burden of proof on the Crown respecting invocation of the conspirator’s exception.

Criminal Law – Topic 2682

Conspiracies – Evidence – Conspirator’s exception to hearsay rule – The Supreme Court of Canada held that before the conspirator’s exception to the hearsay rule could be invoked the Crown was required to prove that a conspiracy existed and that the accused probably was a member of it – Then acts and declarations performed and made by co-conspirators in furtherance of the object of the conspiracy are admissible against the accused in establishing his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Cases Noticed:

Carbo v. United States (1963), 314 F.(2d) 718, appld. [para. 9].

Regina v. Baron and Wertman (1976), 31 C.C.C.(2d) 525, consd. [para. 11].


S.R. Rainstein, for the appellant;

Jim Letcher, for the respondent.

This case was heard on January 27, 1982 at Ottawa, Ontario, before LASKIN, C.J.C., RITCHIE, DICKSON, ESTEY and McINTYRE, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On June 23, 1982, McINTYRE, J., delivered the following judgment for the Supreme Court of Canada:


R. v. Carter

(1982), 46 N.B.R.(2d) 142 (SCC)

Supreme Court of Canada
Reading Time:
12 minutes
Dickson, Estey, Laskin, McIntyre, Ritchie 

: This appeal raises the question of what standard of proof is required on the issue of an accused’s membership in a conspiracy before what is known as the “conspirators’ exception” to the hearsay rule may be brought into play to make admissible against the accused the acts and declarations of his fellow-conspirators performed or made in pursuance of the conspiracy.

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