Minister of Justice orders new trial in British Columbia case following conviction review
November 6, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Justice Canada
The Government is committed to a fair and impartial criminal justice system that respects the needs of victims while guarding against potential miscarriages of justice.
The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced today that he has ordered a new trial for Mr. Tomas Yebes, pursuant to the conviction review provisions of the Criminal Code.
On September 13, 1983, Mr. Yebes was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder. His appeals to the British Columbia Court of Appeal in 1985 and to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1987 were dismissed. Mr. Yebes submitted his application for ministerial review in March 2019.
For an application for ministerial review to succeed, the Minister of Justice must be satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred, and therefore a new trial or appeal is required. The Minister does not decide on guilt or innocence, but must consider all relevant information, including whether the application is supported by new matters of significance not previously considered by the courts.
“Promoting a fair and impartial criminal justice system that respects the needs of victims while protecting against potential miscarriages of justice is crucial to furthering Canadians’ confidence in our justice system. Following a thorough review, I am satisfied that a new trial is necessary to ensure a fair process in the case of Mr. Yebes.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Section 696.1 of the Criminal Code provides that a person who has been convicted of an offence and who has exhausted all rights of appeal may apply to the Minister of Justice for a review of his or her conviction.
The Criminal Conviction Review Group of the Department of Justice conducts a review on behalf of the Minister of Justice and provides the Minister with advice on whether a miscarriage of justice likely occurred. In appropriate cases, the Minister can order a new trial or appeal.
Additional information about the criminal conviction review process in Canada is available here: Criminal Conviction Review.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Department of Justice Canada
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