A Scopelliti motion is a critical tool available to an accused person claiming self defence when charged with murder. As the case of R. v. Jackson reveals, however, this motion can be preemptively denied on the basis that--when considered alongside the Crown's counter application to admit bad character evidence of the accused--it might create a lengthy (and therefore prejudicial) side issue.
Using Rosenberg J.A.'s Court of Appeal dissent in Jackson as a guide, this case comment argues that such reasoning risks the unwarranted exclusion of relevant defence evidence. By returning to first principles, Rosenberg J.A.'s dissent provides a nuanced solution whereby bad character evidence of both the deceased and the accused can be selectively admitted without short-circuiting the Scopelliti analysis at trial. This principled approach effectively estops the Crown from using legitimate concerns regarding trial fairness as a sword as opposed to a shield.
18 Can. Crim. L. Rev. 331
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