The accused plead guilty to the charge of wilfully causing unnecessary pain or suffering or injury to a dog by hanging contrary to s. 445.1 of the Criminal Code, however, before the accused was sentenced, he retained a new lawyer and applied to expunge his plea on the ground that he did not understand that he was pleading guilty to causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to the dog, only that he had killed the dog by hanging it.
The accused admitted through his testimony that he hung the family dog in a tree. He was intoxicated at the time and had had a fight with his girlfriend. The accused did not tell his girlfriend what he had done and she proceeded to put up posters and search for the dog until it was located 11 days later still hanging in the tree where he had left it.
In an expungement hearing, the onus is on the accused to establish on a balance of probabilities that his guilty plea was not voluntary, unequivocal or informed, or that for some other valid reason it should be expunged, or that a miscarriage of justice is likely to occur. Where the accused is represented by counsel, the burden on the accused is a heavy one.
The Court found Mr. McLeod had failed to establish on a balance of probabilities that his guilty plea was not voluntary, unequivocal, or informed. I am satisfied that he understood the nature of the charge, the elements of the offence, the legal effect of the plea and the consequences of the plea. The application for expungement was dismissed.
Source: Case Law