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R v Lagace (2003), 181 CCC (3d) 13 (Ont CA)

Facts:

L was registering cars for X in ON. Police talked to L and told him X was under investigation. L called X and he reassured him he was not involved in illegal activity

Issue(s):

Had the trial judge misapplied the willful blindness doctrine?
What kind of suspicion must the accused have to make out willful blindness?

Ratio:

When an inquiry is made, it must be determined if there was any doubt that remains to claim for willful blindness, if the accused continued the conduct after the inquiry.
**Did they continue to harbour some doubt after the inquiry – if so then an argument could be made that they were willfully blind.

In regards to willful blindness it must be real suspicion in the mind of the accused that causes a need for an inquiry

Analysis:

A person has real suspicion if knowing what they knew they feel there is some to inquiry. An inquiry could be insufficient. Finding on willful blindness requires deliberate ignorance

Comments:

How much of a suspicion is needed?
**A real suspicion – one has to be driven to see a need of inquiry – one can still be guilty if inquiry made, if the Crown can prove that the accused did not take all reasonable steps to alleviate the suspicion


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