Court of appeal

The prosecution seeks leave to appeal a judgment of the Superior Court, which acted in its capacity as a court of appeal. The right of appeal being sinuous, the Court of Appeal of Quebec had to clarify the question of its own jurisdiction.

“The Criminal Code provides, in the event of an appeal against an order for the return of seized property made by a judge of the superior court, that the appeal be heard by a judge of the same court, and not by a court of appeal. This anomaly must be remedied because appeals are usually heard by a higher court. ” [Translated]

R. c. Blanchette, 2021 QCCA 261

The facts

Blanchette brought an action before the Court of Quebec to obtain the restitution of a sum of money previously seized. The trial judge, stating that she did not believe Mr. Blanchette’s testimony, refused to return the sum, which she confiscated for the benefit of the Crown. Mr. Blanchette appealed to the Superior Court, which allowed the appeal and returned the sum to him. The prosecution then appealed to the Court of Appeal to overturn the judgment of the Superior Court under section 490 (17) of the Criminal Code.

The judgment

The Court dismissed the motion for leave to appeal.

The right of appeal provided for in article 490 (17) Cr. refers to an order made under sections 490 (8), 490 (9), 490 (9.1) or 490 (11) Cr.C. Contrary to what is put forward by the prosecution, a second level of appeal does not emerge from the legislative amendment of 2008 that provided a right of appeal. In the present case, there is only one level of appeal, the latter varying depending on the court initially seized of the case. The appeal will be brought to the Court of Appeal only when the court initially seized was the Superior Court. Otherwise, as in the present case, when the court initially seised is the Court of Quebec, the Superior Court will have exclusive jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

Like in Denis v. Côté, 2018 QCCA 611, when the appeal mechanism provides for only one level, the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to act as a second level of appeal. Therefore, the request for leave to appeal is denied.

Published on 11/06/2021