R. v. A.C.E
(1) Attempted Murder;
(2) Assault with a Weapon;
(4) Aggravated Assault
The client, A.C.E., and his co-accused, M.G., were charged with the attempted murder of B.R. as well as offences against two other alleged victims, J.B. and I.M. It was alleged that the client and his co-accused approached the three victims at a bus shelter for the purpose of robbing them at knifepoint. A fight ensued and B.R. was stabbed twice in the abdomen and once in the back of the head. A broken knife blade was left lodged in the head of B.R. The three alleged victims claimed that after the fight, they ran northbound from the scene. The client and his co-accused were located by the police a short time later coming out of a medical centre.
The client and his co-accused maintained that they were minding their own business while walking down a laneway that exited to the street beside the bus shelter. They were on their way to a medical appointment. As they reached the bus shelter, the three alleged victims stepped off the bus together with a larger group of their friends. The three alleged victims and their friends approached the client and his co-accused and attempted to rob them. A fight ensued during which at least one of the alleged victims produced a knife. The client managed to disarm the person with the knife and used the knife to defend himself.
At the preliminary inquiry, the Crown prosecutor called, as witnesses, two of the alleged victims, including B.R. who was the person that was stabbed.
It quickly became apparent during the evidence of the two alleged victims that their evidence did not quite seem to make sense. There were many inconsistencies. They could not explain why they ran north from the scene although they had earlier testified that the client and his co-accused had run in that same direction when the fight ended. They also could not explain why they did not seek help at various businesses that they passed while they were running. The longer they testified, the more it became obvious that the true victims were the client and his co-accused. The Crown prosecutor decided to prevent any further embarrassment by advising the presiding Judge that the Crown was not calling any further evidence and that there was no reasonable prospect of the client and his co-accused being convicted if the matter proceeded to trial. Accordingly, the presiding Judge discharged them with respect to all of the charges they were facing.
It is not often that a case can be won at the preliminary inquiry stage, especially a case of attempted murder. This case is an excellent example of the difference that effective counsel can make in determining the outcome of a case.