Case Brief Wiki


Martineau and a friend were out with weapons (a pellet gun and a rifle), and they knew that they were going to commit a crime. Martineau thought that they were only going to commit a "B & E". They broke into a trailer, robbed the occupants at which time Martineau's accomplice shot and killed the husband and wife living there. Martineau is charged under s. 230(a) of the Criminal Code which states that homicide is murder if it is committed during a break and enter and a death ensues when a person means to cause bodily harm to commit the crime or get away, even if he doesn’t want to kill the person, or think that it is likely that they will die. Martineau was convicted at trial; the conviction was quashed upon appeal which the Crown appealed to the Supreme Court.


  1. Does a charge of murder require intent and is it subjective or objective intent that is required?


Appeal dismissed.


Lamer, following his decision in R v Vaillancourt, again states that he believes that all murders should require subjective intent, as it is the most heinous and punished crime, and therefore this high threshold should be set, saying "a conviction for murder cannot rest on anything less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt of subjective foresight of death." He decides that this section, as well as the rest of s.230 should be deemed contrary to the Charter and casts significant doubt on the validity of any felony murder sections of the Code.

L'Heureux-Dubé, writing a lone dissenting opinion, believes that there was in fact objective foresight in this case, particularly with the second killing, and therefore that the conviction should be reinstated. She also states that policy considerations in the legislation indicates that crimes such as those listed in s. 230 should be considered murder as a deterrent. She thinks that requiring only objective foresight is not contrary to the principles of fundamental justice.

Sopinka agrees with Lamer that s.230(a) should be struck down as contrary to the Charter. However, he does not agree that all instances of murder must require subjective intent to be proven in order to obtain a conviction, as the scope of this case is not wide enough to justify such a far-reaching policy decision (leaning on the ideas of judicial restraint).