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The Friday Brief

The Friday Brief: Managing Editor’s must-read items from this week

Friday, August 16, 2019 @ 2:00 PM | By Matthew Grace

Matthew Grace %>
Matthew Grace
Here are my picks for the top stories we published this week.

Ethics commissioner finds PM improperly sought to influence AG re SNC-Lavalin prosecution
In a bombshell report that could renew pressure for a criminal investigation, federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has found that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau contravened the federal Conflict of Interest Act by using the prime minister’s position of authority over ex-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould “to seek to influence, both directly and indirectly, her decision on whether she should overrule the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision not to invite SNC-Lavalin to enter into negotiations towards a remediation agreement.”

ONCA orders appeal it bungled to be re-argued after wrong judge signs off on civil judgment
“Oops” — that sums up, in a word, the Ontario Court of Appeal’s terse acknowledgment that the court’s mishandling of a long-running, and costly, civil case means that the appeal must now be re-argued, at the expense of the parties.

G7 leaders urged to protect lawyers from harm, ensure AI doesn’t oust human decision making
Next week bar association presidents from Canada and the other G7 nations will jointly urge their countries’ political leaders to legally protect lawyers and the confidentiality of the lawyer-client relationship, as well as to ensure that the emerging use of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms in legal decision making doesn’t harm human dignity, fundamental rights and access to justice.

Judges must use restraint in rejecting joint submissions, Nunavut Appeal Court finds
Joint submissions are not to be “interfered with lightly” — particularly in a challenging place like Nunavut, says a lawyer following an appeal decision denouncing a judge’s rejection of what was deemed a reasonable sentence proposed by defence and Crown counsel.

Manhunt case important lesson on presumption of innocence
In her column, Kyla Lee writes: “One of the most important aspects of the justice system is the presumption of innocence. And this has to be safely guarded at all stages of a trial, if and until conviction, in order to prevent the trier of fact from coming to a predetermined conclusion about the evidence or about the guilt of the offenders and compromising trial fairness.”

Matthew Grace is the Managing Editor of The Lawyer’s Daily.