Libman v The Queen: 10 Oct 1985

CANLII (Supreme Court of Canada) Appellant was committed for trial on seven counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud arising out of the conduct of his Toronto telephone sales solicitation room. Pursuant to appellant’s directions, telephone sales personnel telephoned U.S. residents and attempted to induce them to buy shares in two Central American mining companies. Promotional material was mailed from Central America. The sales personnel were directed to make material misrepresentations with respect to their identity, to where they were telephoning from, and to the quality and value of the shares they were selling. As a result of these misrepresentations, a large number of U.S. residents were induced to buy virtually valueless shares in the two mining companies. Their money was sent to Central America, where appellant received his share to take back to Toronto. The accused, by motion, sought to have the committal for trial quashed on the ground that the alleged offences occurred outside Canada, but the motion was refused. An appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal was dismissed.
Held: The appeal should be dismissed. The counts of fraud on which appellant stood charged could be properly prosecuted in Canada and nothing in the requirements of international comity dictated that Canada not exercise jurisdiction. The conspiracy count could be proceeded with as the fraudulent activities occurred in Canada.
In considering whether a criminal transaction falls outside territorial jurisdiction, account must be taken of all the relevant facts that took place in Canada giving this country an interest in prosecuting the offence and of whether or not anything in those facts offended against international comity. All that is necessary to make an offence subject to the jurisdiction of our courts is that a significant portion of the activities constituting that offence took place in Canada. It is sufficient that there be a ‘real and substantial link’ between an offence and Canada. Sufficient activities preparatory to this fraudulent scheme occurred in Canada to warrant a court’s holding that the offence took place in Canada: the scheme was devised here and the whole operation that made it function, including the directing minds and the telephone solicitation, was situated here. The fact that cases where the victims would be harmed outside the country would be caught made no difference. If an accused were prosecuted for the same offence in more than one country, any injustice could be obviated by the pleas of autrefois acquit or autrefois convict. No issue of comity was involved. The interests of other countries are not served by allowing criminals based in this country to prey on their citizens.

Dickson CJ and McIntyre, Chouinard, Lamer, Wilson, Le Dain and La Forest JJ
(1985) 21 DLR (4th) 174, 1985 CanLII 51 (SCC), 62 NR 161, 12 OAC 33, 21 CCC (3d) 206, [1985] 2 SCR 178
Cited by:
CitedPurdy, Regina (on the Application of) v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 30-Jul-2009
Need for Certainty in Scope of Offence
The appellant suffered a severe chronic illness and anticipated that she might want to go to Switzerland to commit suicide. She would need her husband to accompany her, and sought an order requiring the respondent to provide clear guidelines on the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 04 December 2021; Ref: scu.373405