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The Friday Brief

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

Friday, March 13, 2020 @ 3:26 PM | By Matthew Grace

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

Jury trials nixed over COVID-19; SCC closed to public; courts offer remote hearings, adjournments
As concerns mount over the health risks from COVID-19, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has suspended upcoming jury trials, while both the Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal say they will hear scheduled appeals for the time being, but are advising parties to contact the courts should they wish to appear by video or teleconference, or ask for an adjournment of their cases.

New offences proposed to ban ‘conversion therapy’ of children, coercive practices against adults
The Liberal government has introduced what it calls the world’s most “progressive and comprehensive” criminal prohibitions in relation to conversion “therapy” for both children and LGBTQ2 adults in a move which may also raise some constitutional questions implicating freedom of expression and religion.

New defamation law needed to regulate ‘harmful Internet speech,’ LCO reports
After four years of research and international consultations, the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) has released its "Defamation Law in the Internet Age” report, which proposes 39 recommendations for reforming Ontario’s defamation law to address online attacks on reputation.

Military ends prosecution of its top judge, withdraws all charges against Dutil
The Director of Military Prosecutions has withdrawn the four charges that remained against Chief Military Judge Mario Dutil, ending an unprecedented case that exposed serious problems within Canada’s military justice system.

What our courts can and should do to address COVID-19 concerns
In her column, Kyla Lee writes “While most people who contract COVID-19 will experience only very mild symptoms and are at a low risk, our courts are typically filled with people who are a high risk for infection and at a high risk if infected. Think about the people in court who struggle with drug addiction and have contracted immune disorders like HIV/AIDS or hepatitis from drug addiction? What about people with chronic health issues as a result of years of living homeless?”

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