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Homicide is the most serious offence in Canada. Homicide charges are extremely complex and meticulous, with the possibility of severe punishment. For the accused, it’s a scary and overwhelming experience. At Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence Firm, we uphold a level of professionalism, integrity, and empathy for our clients and their family – regardless of the charges laid against you.

Our responsibility is to protect your rights and help you reach a fair verdict. The criminal defence team must work through every opportunity to identify inappropriate identification, an invalid search warrant, or inadequate/inappropriate investigative procedures when building the best defence possible for homicide cases. The smallest of details can prove a person’s innocence or reduce the punishment for a guilty verdict.

Our lawyers at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence Firm draw on our tenured and deeply technical knowledge in arguing your best possible defence in front of a judge and jury. We work tirelessly to defend your name and are rigorous in our investigations.


1. What is Homicide?

Homicide is the most serious offence in Canada.  A homicide can be anything from manslaughter to first degree murder. Manslaughter charges stem from an unintentional homicide that resulted from criminal negligence or unlawful conduct.

First-degree murder can refer to a planned and deliberate homicide, murdering a police officer, or murder committed in the course of a certain other offences (such as sexual assault, or forcible confinement).

Second-Degree murder refers to intentional homicides that cannot be classified as first-degree.

2. What defences do I have?

Given the seriousness of the allegation, persons accused of homicide can usually expect a thorough police investigation involving an array of investigative techniques reserved for only the most serious kinds of offences. Techniques include advanced surveillance, undercover operations such as a Mr. Big Sting, wiretaps, search warrants, and powerful police interrogations.

These investigations are complex and, if inappropriately conducted, may result in a violation of your Constitutional rights. If police did not follow procedure when obtaining evidence and infringed your Charter rights, Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence Firm can apply on your behalf to exclude evidence. Oftentimes, successful exclusion of evidence is the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.

Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence can also review the evidence against you to ensure that you haven’t been improperly identified.

In some instances, the best outcome in a Homicide case involves reducing a charge of first or second-degree murder to manslaughter. Doing so requires a multifaceted strategy that may include persuading a Crown Prosecutor. Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence Firm will work diligently on your behalf to form the best defence strategy given your circumstances.

3. What happens if I am found guilty?

A homicide conviction may mean life in jail. Certain homicide convictions carry mandatory sentences of incarceration that must be served in federal penitentiaries.

If you are convicted with first-degree murder, you will be sentenced to life imprisonment with parole eligibility after 25 years. If you are convicted with second-degree murder, you will be sentenced to life imprisonment with parole eligibility after a minimum of 10 years.

You will likely be placed in a federal penitentiary if convicted for first or second-degree murder.

If you are convicted with manslaughter, the sentence varies. Imprisonment is not mandatory unless the offence was committed with a firearm in which case there is a minimum sentence of four years imprisonment.

Recently won cases

R v S.W. [Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench]

The client was found guilty of 1st degree murder. Tonii Roulston and Andrea Urquhart represented the client. Despite a Mr. Big confession, the jury took 3 days to render their verdict.

The matter is currently under Appeal.

R v R. H. [Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench]

Homicide: 3 counts of First-Degree Murder Withdrawn

The client was charged with 3 counts of First-degree murder for shooting and killing 3 people in a restaurant. Tonii Roulston and Andrea Urquhart filed numerous motions on behalf of the client for trial. The Crown agreed to withdraw all 3 First–degree murders and the client plead guilty to 1 second-degree murder. The client was eligible for parole at 17 years as opposed to a 3 x 25 year life sentences.

R v R.H. [Calgary Queen’s Bench]

The client is facing three first-degree homicide charges stemming of a shooting at a Calgary Restaurant that resulted in the death of three people. A large portion of the Crown’s case against the client is based on evidence gathered through a wiretap and the interception of his communication.

Current Status: Tonii Roulston and Andrea Urquhart will be representing the client during a trial set in 2016.

R v A.V. [Lethbridge Provincial Court]

The client is charged with a triple-homicide, and sexual assault after a fatal stabbing in Lethbridge. 

Current Status: Tonii Roulston and Robin McIntyre are acting as counsel for the client.

R v S.P. [Calgary Queen’s Bench]

The client, along with 4 other suspects, is facing a second-degree murder charge after a fatal attack on a young Calgarian.

Current Status: Tonii Roulston and Robin McIntyre are representing the client in a month-long trial scheduled in 2016.