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EXTRAORDINARY REMEDIES - Habeas corpus

Friday, March 22, 2019 @ 8:50 AM  


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Appeal by Forster from the summary dismissal of his habeas corpus application. The appellant had been imprisoned as a dangerous offender for more than 30 years after being convicted of several sexual offences and sentenced to an indeterminate sentence. The appellant challenged the validity of the warrant of committal and asserted a lack of jurisdiction to make the dangerous offender finding. The application judge found it was plain and obvious the appellant’s application could not succeed.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The appellant’s habeas corpus application should not have been dismissed without a full hearing on the merits. It could not be said that the appellant’s claim did not show a substantial ground or that it was frivolous or vexatious as required under the test in Rule 6.11(2) of the Criminal Proceedings Rules for the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario). The application judge’s decision was predicated on inapplicable civil rules. Given the unique nature of the appellant’s habeas corpus application, it was neither expedient nor in the interests of justice to short circuit his application through a procedure not contemplated by the criminal rules. The case was remitted to the Superior Court of Justice for a full hearing on the merits.

Forster v. Canada (Attorney General), [2019] O.J. No. 673, Ontario Court of Appeal, J.M. Simmons, P.D. Lauwers and G.T. Trotter JJ.A., February 8, 2019. Digest No. TLD-March182019010