Welcome to Cases That Should Have Gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, But Didn’t! This week, lawyer Kyla Lee is joined by the former Chief Justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin to discuss the admission of guilt through creative expression.
Acumen Law Corporation lawyer Kyla Lee gives her take on a made-in-Canada court case each week and discusses why these cases should have been heard by Canada’s highest court: the Supreme Court of Canada.
Lamar Skeete was on trial for murder. The Crown’s theory on the case was that he had killed someone in retaliation for fingering him in another crime. During the course of the trial, the pros
ecutors discovered that Mr. Skeete had posted rap lyrics online, confessing to the murder. They applied to have those lyrics introduced as evidence at trial. They were successful in their application, and although the Court of Appeal disagreed with the manner in which the judge did the assessment, they ultimately found that the lyrics would have been admissible anyway and Mr. Skeete was convicted.
The Supreme Court of Canada could have taken this opportunity to hear this case and to determine the limits of the application of the hearsay rule to the freedom of expression and the creative expression of individuals in their rap cases.
On the other hand, former Chief Justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin takes a different stance on this case.
The law has never said that there is a privilege for expression just because there is artistic content.
Where this case really had to be decided, was on the trial judge’s determination of whether the prejudicial value outweighed the probative value. The issue, in this case, would have been whether an artistic lyric has any probative value. Does it really mean that Mr. Skeete was confessing? Or was he just using his imagination?
In the result, we have a situation where the trial judge apparently thought it did have probative value.
Watch the video for more.