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Criminal Appeals

With one of the strongest reputations for criminal appeals in the province, Michael Bolton has a proven talent for finding and advancing viable grounds of appeal.

Conviction and sentence appeals are complicated, time-sensitive matters that require consultation with a highly experienced criminal lawyer.

Over the years Michael has conducted a number of successful major criminal appeals in the BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. His criminal appeal experience includes cases dealing with fundamental issues in the law of conspiracy, search and seizure and other cases under Charter of Rights issues, as well as extradition matters.

Grounds of appeal can include an unreasonable verdict or one that cannot be supported by the evidence, errors of law, and miscarriage of justice.

Lawyers frequently consult with him for an opinion regarding a possible criminal appeal. He was recently involved in a Supreme Court of Canada appeal brought by Special Prosecutors against the decision of the BC Court of Appeal dealing with an important issue of informer privilege (decision pending).



USA v. Lorenz, 2007 BCCA 342 – Madam Justice Newbury

extradition – co-conspirators – conspiracy to possess and to traffic heroin
Mr. Lorenz drove the co-conspirators to locations where the heroin was transferred using another vehicle but the extradition judge concluded that actions and declarations of co-conspirators could not be used as evidence against Mr. Lorenz that he was involved in the conspiracy in the absence of proof of his probable membership in the conspiracy. Mr. Lorenz was discharged and not surrendered for extradition. Madam Justice Newbury dismissed the appeal by the Attorney General of Canada against Mr. Lorenz’ discharge.


R. v. Vukelich, 1996 CanLII 1005 BCCA

Charter – voir dire – conspiracy to import cocaine
This is the leading case in determining when an accused is entitled to the right to a voir dire in order to challenge the constitutionality of a search. At the “Vukelich hearing,” upon hearing Counsel submissions, and if need be, support by affidavits, the Court determines if the accused meets the threshold to have a voir dire, where the Charter issues will be argued. If the accused succeeds, there is a chance that a resolution to the Charter issue might end the prosecution altogether.


R. v. Saunders, 1990 1 SCR 1020 – McLaughlin CJC

conspiracy to import heroin – fundamental principle that charge must be proved
The accused was charged with conspiracy to import heroin. The Crown evidence revealed that a courier imported cocaine. The judge told the jury that they could convict the accused if they were satisfied that the accused had conspired to import any drug. The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the Crown’s appeal from BC Court of Appeal. It is a fundamental principle of the criminal law that the offence specified in the indictment must be proved. The accused cannot be convicted if a narcotic other than the one specified, is proven.


R. v. Donaldson, 1990 CanLii 630 BCCA – Justice E. Hinkson

conspiracy – fraud – wiretap
The accused were acquitted at their trial after the judge found that the Crown had been deceptive by stating they spoke to a “reliable, confidential source,” when in fact the police source was a wiretap. The Crown appealed the ruling. At the Court of Appeal, Justice Hinkson dismissed the Crown appeal after looking at the facts and deciding that approving this practice would bring the administration of justices into disrepute.

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