R v Foster, 2018 ONSC 4353

Trial decision. Foster (defendant) was accused of killing his dog by throwing the dog from the balcony of his 7th floor apartment. No witnesses saw Foster throwing the dog from the balcony. The issue was whether the death of the dog was an accident or if it was deliberate.

The case was decided on circumstantial evidence which included: testimony from the five Crown witnesses; Foster’s testimony; and photographic and video evidence of the apartment complex, Foster’s apartment and balcony, and the dog. Judge found it troubling that no evidence was submitted, or measurements taken, of the milk crates or stool on the balcony to rule out the possibility the dog might have used the object(s) to jump of the balcony. Even so, the judge found Foster’s testimony to be not believable and that there was no reasonable doubt that he threw the dog off the balcony for these reasons.


The judge acknowledged that Foster was clearly living with mental health issues. But he could not conclude that the statement about the “metaphysical body” was involuntary, nor that Foster had no appreciation of the general situation because no evidence was submitted about what Foster’s mental health issue was and how it affected him. Thus, although clearly Foster was not well, there was no evidence to find that Foster lacked intention to throw the dog off the balcony nor that he did not understand the consequences of his action.

Thus, as there were no other reasonable inferences to be made from the totality of the circumstantial evidence, Judge found Foster guilty on both accounts.