Mr Rice acted for one of two defendants on this appeal from conviction for drug trafficking. The conviction was based on the uncorroborated testimony of an undercover police agent who said she bought cocaine from his client. After the trial, it was learned that the same agent was caught by the police falsely accusing a professional man in Saskatchewan of buying drugs from her. She was convicted of perjury. Mr Rice brought an application in the Alberta Court of Appeal at Calgary to produce new evidence of the agent’s perjury conviction. The court allowed the application, granted the appeal and ordered a new trial. The Crown Attorney then dropped the case when he was left with nothing but the uncorroborated evidence of a star witness convicted of perjury.
In this multi-million dollar case of fraud and money laundering two insiders employed by an international Calgary company were charged with skimming money from currency transactions. The money trail led to D who was a successful businessman. The theory of the prosecution was that a conspiracy existed among the three men who all knew what was being done. D retained Mr Rice. At trial, during cross-examination of T, one of the insiders, T said he was unaware whether D knew how the money was being diverted. And under cross-examination of E, the other insider and a former banker, E conceded to Mr Rice that he never told D where the money came from and he did not know if D was ever aware of the scam. The trial judge agreed with Mr Rice that the evidence did not establish that D ought to have been suspicious about where the money came from and the evidence was insufficient to apply the doctrine of willful blindness. D was found not guilty of all charges.
The two men in this case were convicted at trial for the stabbing death of a fellow inmate at the Drumheller Penitentiary east of Calgary. M testified that the deceased had initiated various threats against him over a period of time during which the tension in the prison rose to the point where he killed him in self-defence. L was alleged to have assisted M and was convicted as a party to the stabbing under s 21 of the Criminal Code. It was a preemptive strike. L retained Mr Rice for the appeal. The appeals of both men to the Alberta Court of Appeal were dismissed and Mr Rice took the case to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court granted the appeal for the reasons of the dissenting judge in the Court of Appeal. The dissenting judge had held that the trial judge was mistaken in his charge to the jury in that the jury may have thought that the physical part of the assault against M had to be imminent or immediate. A new trial was ordered.
In one of Calgary’s most tragic highway accidents of 1992 one person was killed and another seriously injured when a stolen trailer fell off a half-ton truck and careened across the median of a busy freeway. The truck was driven by J and M was the owner. M testified at J’s trial that his truck was stolen. But J’s partner testified that J told him he had borrowed M’s truck. In convicting J of dangerous driving causing death the trial judge said M was a liar. The police then charged M with perjury and obstruction of justice. M hired Mr Rice. The case went to trial before a judge a jury in 1996. Mr Rice brought an unusual motion for a directed verdict at the close of the Crown’s case. The trial judge granted the motion and the jury returned verdicts of not guilty on all charges.
The defendants in this case were charged with conspiracy and possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. The case went directly to trial in the Provincial Court of Alberta on the election of the defendants. Early in the trial the Crown Attorney objected to the disclosure of certain information on the grounds of a specified public interest under s 37 of the Canada Evidence Act. Mr Rice objected on the basis that the Crown Attorney was in the wrong court to assert the privilege. The proper court was the Federal Court under s 37(3)(a) of the statute. The trial judge in the Provincial Court adjourned the trial. The next move by the Crown Attorney was to bring the certification of the specified public interest before the Court of Queen’s Bench. Mr Rice objected again and Chief Justice W K Moore said that he had reservations whether the Crown Attorney had brought the application in the right court. Faced with the prospect of conducting a long and delayed application on the crowded docket of the Federal Court, the Crown Attorney withdrew the charges.