Laws1000 Introduction To Legal Studies Essay


This assignment requires you to locate, read and summarize a judgement of the Supreme Court of Canada. The case which is the focus of the assignment is R. v. Williams [1998] 1 S.C.R.1 1128; you will need to go to the Supreme Court of Canada website, locate the judgment, download and read it, then you must summarize the essence of the judgment using the ‘Case Summary Template’ posted on CULearn.


1. Name of Case and Citation

R. v. Williams [1998] 1 S.C.R. 1128

Lexum. (n.d.). R. v. Williams. Retrieved from

2. Type and Level of Case

The Supreme Court of Canada on an appeal from a judgment, of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Delivered by McLachlin J.

3. Facts

In 1993, a suit was filed against Victor Daniel Williams, an aboriginal, in which he was accused for robbing a Victoria pizza parlour. When this case was brought before the court, Williams pleaded not guilty. The court ordered a trial on this case through judge and jury. After beginning of the trial, Williams requested from the court that the jury members should be changed based on racial bias under section 638 of the Criminal Code (Sinclair, 2012). An accused have the right to make any number of challenges based on the fact that a juror is not indifferent between the queen and the accused provided under this section. Based on this section, Williams requested before the court that the jurors should be changed because they are likely to give their judgement based on racial bias. The request made by Mr Williams was allowed by the judge Hutchison J. A mistrial was applied by the Crown based on the fact that procedural error includes in the selection of the jury members.

After the selection of jurors in the second trial, a motion was again filed by Mr Williams in which he once again challenged the racial bias of jurors. This motion was heard by the judge Esson C. J. who agreed with the application of Mr Williams. He provided that the evidence did support the fact that the natives in the court have continued to be object of bias and prejudice in the country (Jochelson et al., 2013). However, he rejected the application of Mr Williams by providing that the widespread prejudice that is against the aboriginal people in a community is not sufficient enough to challenge for cause and chose to dismiss the motion filed by Mr Williams. Vickers J rejected the third application made by Mr Williams to challenge the potential of jurors based on racial bias. The jury found Mr Williams guilty of robbing a Victorian pizza parlour. Mr Williams appealed to the Court of Appeal by raising the issue of challenges for these cause.

4. Issue of Appeal

In this case, the main issue on the appeal was raised by Mr Williams regarding whether he has the right to challenge the potential of jurors who are selected to entertain her trial in order to determine whether those jurors possess any prejudice against aboriginal people which may lead to impartiality in their decision making. Another issue was whether there is enough evidence present in the case based on which widespread bias in against the aboriginal people of community that can affect the partiality of the jurors.

5. Judgement

The appeal made by Mr Williams was allowed, and a new trial was ordered by the Supreme Court. It was held by the court that the trial judge should have allowed Mr Williams to challenge the potential of jurors because a slight potential of racial biases resulted in affected the fairness of the trial.

6. Dissenting Opinion

In the appeal, the judge Macfarlane J.A agreed with the statement made by Esson C.J. that there is no need to be stronger evidence which is enough to support the motion made by Mr Williams. He provided that just general bias in the community is enough to change the jurors. The appeal of Mr Williams was dismissed by the majority, and the conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal.


Jochelson, R., Bertrand, M. I., Lindsay, R. C. L., Smith, A. M., Ventola, M., & Kalmet, N. (2013). Revisiting Representativeness in the Manitoban Criminal Jury. Man. LJ, 37, 365.

Lexum. (n.d.). R. v. Williams. Retrieved from

Sinclair, R. (2016). The Indigenous Child Removal System in Canada: An examination of legal decision-making and racial bias. First Peoples Child & Family Review, 11(2), 8-18.

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