His Majesty the King v. Agénor Archambault, et al. (40428)

Posted on: 2024-05-31


(Publication ban in case)

In July 2019, in two separate cases, the respondents appeared in the Court of Québec to answer charges for indictable offences that were punishable by a maximum of 14 years of imprisonment, but that had been punishable by a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment at the time they were allegedly committed. The respondents were thus entitled to a preliminary inquiry. On September 19, 2019, s. 535 of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 (“Cr. C.”), was amended and the right to a preliminary inquiry was abolished for an accused charged with an indictable offence punishable by less than 14 years of imprisonment. The respondents both requested a preliminary inquiry after September 19, 2019. Both requests were denied by the Court of Québec on the basis that it lacked jurisdiction followed the amendment to s. 535 Cr. C. The Quebec Superior Court denied judicial review in each case. The Quebec Court of Appeal determined that the amendment to s. 535 Cr. C. applies prospectively; it allowed both appeals and referred each case back to the Court of Québec for a preliminary inquiry.

Argued Date



Criminal law — Preliminary inquiry — Legislation — Prospective application of legislative amendments to preliminary inquiry rules — Interpretation — Whether Quebec Court of Appeal erred in law in finding that right to preliminary inquiry depends on law in force at time of commission of offence with which accused is charged — Whether accused charged with indictable offence has right to preliminary inquiry even if not personally liable to 14 years or more of imprisonment — Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, s. 535.


(Quebec) (Criminal) (By Leave)


English Audio


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