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Fine line between plain language and inappropriate commentary in judicial decisions | Michael Spratt

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 @ 8:40 AM | By Michael Spratt

Judges have a duty to provide reasons for their decisions. This would seem to be self-evident. But it wasn’t — at least not until 2002 when the Supreme Court of Canada was called upon to review the sufficiency of the trial judge’s reasons for convicting a young man named Colin Sheppard.

At trial Sheppard had been convicted of stealing two windows. There was no physical evidence linking him to the theft —- no fingerprints, no DNA, nor any video surveillance. Nothing.

The only evidence of guilt...