Tuesday, 29 March 2011

R v Jensen [2011] VSC 80 — murder, relevance and prejudice

R v Jensen [2011] VSC 80 is a trial-ruling, so strictly does not create a precedent.

But it's a neat example of arguments about relevance and prejudice.

The accused was charged with murdering his father, and accused of trying to make it look like suicide. The police found a book called Forensic Clues to Murder at the accused's house. The spine was broken, so that the book opened at a page discussing a homicide case where the victim was shot and the crime was first thought to be suicide.

The Crown argued the book could have indicated to the accused that he could make a murder look like a suicide.

Kyrou Kaye J rejected the submission, and ruled evidence of the book inadmissible. He considered the evidence was tenuous, as there was no evidence the accused had read the book or when he might have read it. But His Honour considered the book would be highly prejudicial, possibly leading the jury to consider the accused was interested in murder, or murder that first appeared to be suicide.


stimpy said...

It was Stephen Kaye who made this ruling, but Kyrou would have done the same.

Kyle said...

stimpy, my bad! It was indeed Kaye J. Cheers,

Tony M. said...

And if the Widow Perry had a book on the toxicity of arsenic or Arthur "no longer a" Freeman had a book called called How To Hurt Your Wife the court would have excluded them too.