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SCC dismisses appeal in R. v. Haevischer

Date Closed

April 28, 2023

Lead Office


This is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the test for summary dismissal of applications in criminal matters. On May 4, 2023, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (“CCLA”) acted as interveners in the R. v. Haevischer appeal. The appellants, Mr. Cody Rae Haevischer and Mr. Matthew James Johnston were tried and found guilty of what came to be known as the "Surrey Six" murders. They applied for a stay of proceedings before convictions were entered into the court record, citing police misconduct during the investigation, as well as harsh and inhumane conditions in confinement following their arrests. The trial judge dismissed the stay applications and ordered convictions.

The B.C. Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the accused. A Crown appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was dismissed. In Reasons delivered on April 28, 2023, a unanimous Supreme Court endorsed a high test – “manifestly frivolous” – for summary dismissal of applications in criminal court.

McCarthy Tétrault represented the CCLA with a team led by Andrew Matheson and Natalie Kolos. As noted in the Reasons, the test adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada was consistent with the submissions of McCarthy Tétrault on behalf of the CCLA.