R. v. Maybin (M.L.) et al. 2012 SCC 24
Criminal Law - Manslaughter - Causation
Brophy was at a pub, standing beside a pool table talking, when he moved one or two of the pool balls. The pool-players, brothers Matthew and Timothy Maybin, repeatedly punched him in the face and head. Timothy struck a blow that rendered Brophy unconscious. The pub’s bouncer, Gains, arrived on the scene within seconds. Gains punched Brophy in the head, and carried him outside, leaving him on his back. Brophy died later that afternoon. Medical cause of death was bleeding in the brain. The Maybin brothers and Gains were charged with manslaughter.
The British Columbia Supreme Court, in a decision reported at  B.C.T.C. Uned. C97, acquitted all three. The trial judge concluded that the Maybin brothers and Gains, acting independently, committed separate assaults causing bodily harm. The trial judge also found that he was unable to determine whether any or all of them had caused Brophy’s death. The Crown appealed, alleging that the trial judge erred in law in analyzing the issue of causation; for that reason, there had to be a new trial.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal, Finch, C.J.B.C., dissenting, in a decision reported at 295 B.C.A.C. 298; 501 W.A.C. 298, allowed the appeal of the acquittal of the Maybin brothers and ordered a new trial. Had the trial judge correctly applied the law as it related to causation, he could have concluded that the brothers caused Brophy bodily harm in a situation where it was not unforeseeable that further non-trivial harm would be caused by the actions of others. The court dismissed the appeal of the acquittal of Gains. The Maybin brothers appealed.
The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal. The court agreed with the majority of the Court of Appeal that in the circumstances of this case, it was open to the trial judge to find that the Maybin brothers caused the death.