Supreme Court upholds manslaughter charge stay against Saskatoon man charged with baby death



It started one morning in January 2016, when police arrived on a chaotic scene in an apartment building in Saskatoon.

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Kaylon Dakota Stonne’s disastrous lawsuit for allegedly killing her baby girl while falling asleep in her crib ended in miserable failure on Thursday with the shortest legal remarks.


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The Saskatchewan Crown’s appeal “is dismissed,” the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, as usual without giving any reason.

But the reason is clear. The Saskatoon police obtained crucial evidence, so crucial that a judge thought it could have led a jury to acquit. It could also have been used to challenge the credibility of officers on the witness stand. But the police failed to disclose it to Stonne, then destroyed it before trial.

It is a pattern that has been reproduced in some of the most serious and notorious wrongful convictions in Canada, including those of Steven Truscott, Romeo Phillion and Donald Marshall.

What makes this case so rare, as the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal found earlier this year, is that a trial judge admitted that this failure to disclose had caused such “serious harm. and irreparable ”to Stonne’s defense that he properly spiked the trial before it even started.

So now the Crown has lost its last appeal, Stonne is not guilty and the charges are stayed.

It started one morning in January 2016, when police arrived on a chaotic scene in an apartment building in Saskatoon. Paramedics transported the child to hospital. She had died during the night.

Officers were under the impression that all of the adults they interviewed at the scene had been drinking. They found Stonne asleep in a different apartment from where the baby was sleeping, but they quickly formed a theory. Stonne is a tall man, 6’4 “according to court records. Police had statements from people at the scene that Stonne had passed out in the cradle and was then ‘pulled or lifted’ from the baby’s body and moved to another apartment before emergency services were dispatched. called.


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Indeed, the police theory was that he entered the crib overnight, which killed the baby, but then someone moved him to a bed.

Stonne learned that his daughter had died that morning while sitting in a patrol car. The trial judge described his “shock and disbelief” at this news. Police also told him he was detained as part of the investigation. At the police station, he spoke to a lawyer. An officer described it as “hammered”.

Stonne admitted to drinking the night before, but denied being seriously intoxicated during his arrest, just temporarily groggy after being woken up by police.

It was clear that his sobriety was a key issue. There was also evidence of a large amount of urine in the baby’s crib, which police believed was more than what could have been a baby, but there was no physical evidence to indicate whether the pants de Stonne was wet when he was arrested, and no one made any written observations as to whether he smelled urine. The pants had not been seized.

A video of his detention would have helped shed some light, whether that was validating the officers’ impression of Stonne’s drunkenness or challenging it, or even offering a picture of his pants, but an unfortunate revelation was on its way.

Stonne was questioned later that night at 10 pm and released at 1.30 am He was arrested four months later, in May 2016, on charges of manslaughter by criminal negligence and criminal negligence causing death. He chose to be tried by a jury.


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Ultimately, it was a prosecutor who discovered the calamity. Police already had a video of him from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. that day in custody, in the reservation, at least 12 hours of video evidence, relevant to whether he was drunk or soaked in urine, but there were no more. It was automatically erased after 400 days and overwritten in the police storage system.

“I was unaware that the detention video had not been released before the preliminary hearing,” the prosecutor wrote to the defense attorney. “I did not intend to use this evidence at the preliminary hearing and I did not check the ‘USB stick’ to confirm if it was in a file on the stick.”

Whether it was due to an unfortunate accident or malice did not matter to the man threatened with prison for the death of his child. The trial judge concluded that the deletion was not intentional and was not a matter of bad faith. Nonetheless, the result was that “very relevant evidence has been destroyed due to unacceptable police negligence,” as the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled earlier this year.

By also refusing to intervene in the trial judge’s decision to stay the charges, the Supreme Court concluded the case on Thursday.

Legally, it was a delicate decision. Judges are generally not expected to stay criminal proceedings at the pre-trial stage, as there is only partial evidence. The whole point of trials is to bring them to a successful conclusion. On the other hand, this imperative is balanced against the risk of wrongful conviction and the Charter right of an accused to make full answer and defense in a fair trial. This was the rare case where no legal solution could put Humpty back on his feet.


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Madam Justice Georgina Jackson of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal addressed the main precedent for disclosure of evidence, a 1991 case known as the Stinchcombe involving a lawyer accused of abuse of trust and fraud.

“It is concerning that 30 years later it is still possible to see cases like this where evidence collected by the police on the day of the alleged offense is not disclosed and is then destroyed before being examined by the police. defense, ”she wrote. on behalf of a panel of three judges.

The Saskatoon Police’s policy on the retention of videos has since been changed. Now it is overwritten after 1000 days, not 400.

  1. Kaylon Dakota Stonne was charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death in connection with the asphyxiation of her eight-month-old daughter in Saskatoon on January 29, 2016. The charges were stayed on a voir dire in 2019 due to missing evidence, and the decision was recently upheld by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

    Appeals court upholds judge’s provisional suspension of man accused of suffocating baby

  2. Kaylon Dakota Stonne is charged with manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide essentials for life in connection with the death of an eight month old baby in Saskatoon on January 29, 2016.

    Man accused of death of baby serving sentence in community

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