R v Nault, 2017 ABPC 129; 2019 ABPC 37; 2020 ABPC 26; 2020 ABPC 27

R v Nault, 2017 ABPC 129 (Sentencing)

Background / Facts: Accused was intoxicated and – using gasoline – set fire to the duplex where he lived with his ex-girlfriend at the time. When firefighters attended, they were able to rescue two dogs who were suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. The Accused himself was located in the basement with burns on his legs. Accused charged with 7 offences, including arson, weapons charges, and causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

“Causing unnecessary suffering to animals is a general intent offence for which intoxication short of automatism is not available as a defence. The actus reus is causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. The mental element requires unlawful and wilful performance of the illegal act. I see no reason why the principles enunciated by the SCC in Tatton, ought not to apply to this offence as well. The evidence of the firefighters who rescued the two dogs, and the evidence of Sheena McMillan (ex-girlfriend) who saw the dogs later at the SPCA, confirm their pain, suffering and injury. Expert evidence in this regard is not necessary to prove these charges.”

Judgement: The judge found the accused guilty of all charges.

R v Nault, 2019 ABPC 37 (Appeal)

Background / Facts: Mr. Nault now alleges that the trial judge used the ex-girlfriend’s out-of-court statements to bolster the credibility of her testimony and thereby erred.

Judgement: The judge allowed the appeal and called for a new trial.

R v Nault, 2020 ABPC 26 (Re-Trial Voir Dire)

Regarding the contumacious admission of the 911 phone call, the vior dire judge found the call to be admissible under traditional res gentae or spontaneous statement exceptions to the hearsay rule.

R v Nault, 2020 ABPC 27 (Re-Trial Decision)

Accused ultimately found guilty of setting the fires and causing the digs unnecessary pain and suffering.