R. v. Chaplin and Chaplin

96 C.C.C. (3d) 225


Supreme Court of Canada

The accused were charged with a large number of offences of break enter and theft alleged to have been committed over a 5 year span. Prior to trial the accused made written requests to the provincial prosecutor and to the federal Department of Justice requesting that the provincial and federal authorities disclose whether either of the accused were named as primary or secondary targets in any undisclosed authorizations to intercepted private communications. The provincial Crown informed the accused that there were no provincial wire-tap authorizations in effect pertaining to the particular investigation during the time-period in question. The provincial and federal Corwn refused to confirm or deny the existence of any other authorizations. As a result of this refusal, the accused applied for for an order directing the Crown to comply with the request.


Supreme Court of Canada

At the hearing, the accused admitted that they had no evidence to demonstrate the relevance to their defence of the information sought. The trial judge held that the onus was on the Crown to provide full disclosure and that the Crown had not established that it was impractical to answer the accused's request. While the Crown is under a general duty to disclose all info, whether inculpatory or exculpotory it is not required to dislcose evidence that is beyond the contorl of the prosecution, clearly irrelevant or privilaged