PROCEDURE - Crown’s duties - Disclosure - Setting aside guilty plea

Law360 Canada (May 16, 2023, 5:54 AM EDT) -- Appeal by Bouvette from her conviction for criminal negligence following her guilty plea. Bouvette sought the admission of fresh evidence to establish material non-disclosure and the existence of a reasonable possibility she would not have pleaded guilty had the disclosure breaches not occurred. Bouvette was charged with second degree murder but entered a guilty plea to criminal negligence causing the death of Iyanna, a 19-month-old child who had been left in her care. At some point in the late morning of the incident, the appellant left Iyanna unattended in a bathtub for an unknown period of time. The appellant phoned 911 for emergency medical assistance. Iyanna’s heartbeat was restored but she was pronounced brain-dead the next day. The appellant’s brother told investigators that the appellant had been afraid to disclose in her statements that on the day of the incident, Iyanna had fallen from her highchair. Dr. Matshes conducted the autopsy of Iyanna’s body, and concluded Iyanna’s death was caused by drowning. Dr. Matshes provided additional information and opinions on the bruises and injuries he found on Iyanna’s body. Crown counsel was informed that questions had been raised about the reasonableness of Dr. Matshes’ conclusions in many cases, including Iyanna’s case, and a review of his work in Alberta was being conducted. The covering letter sent by Alberta Justice, the results of the External Peer Review Committee and Dr. Matshes’ letter to the Minister of Justice were not in defence counsel’s file. No documents in the defence or Crown files suggested that any of these materials were disclosed by the Crown to the defence....
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