Focus On
The Friday Brief

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

Friday, June 12, 2020 @ 3:22 PM | By Matthew Grace

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

Holding cellphone, functional or not, is distracted driving: B.C. Court of Appeal
A British Columbia Court of Appeal ruling that found a cellphone with no functionality and held in a position in which it may be used violates the province’s Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) could have a far-reaching effect beyond the driver involved in the case.

New Quebec Chief Justice Savard brings strong people, administrative skills to busy court: lawyers
Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Manon Savard, an ex-labour lawyer who lawyers say has demonstrated strong intellectual, administrative and people skills as a trial and appellate judge, is the new chief justice of Quebec.

Courts need new ideas to safely resume jury trials, selection, lawyers say
Canada’s courts are going to have to be “creative” if they want to resume jury trials and selection while continuing to practise social distancing, says a legal mind. As some of the nation’s courts slowly restart certain operations, questions remain about how they will resume jury trials and the process of gathering large groups of people together to choose who will sit on a panel.

Controversial Court of Appeal decision could lead to legislation aimed at ‘criminal intoxication’
In one of its most controversial and constitutionally rich decisions this year, the Ontario Court of Appeal has struck down s. 33.1 of the Criminal Code, effectively reinstating the difficult-to-prove defence of automatism caused by self-induced intoxication for violent offences, including murder and sexual assault.

Protesters, police and pandemic
In their column, Michael Bryant and Cara Zwibel write: “The tornado of injustices of late has wrought a clash of rights proving that truth is stranger, more tragic, more horrible even, than fiction. A pandemic causing mass public anxiety and restrictions on crowd congregations, plus physical distancing rules, plus George Floyd anti-racism protests in the U.S. and Canada, plus U.S. mass arrests of protesters and global news coverage with headlines about racism, police brutality, rioting and looting and some arrests of protesters in Montreal.”

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