Focus On



Tuesday, April 21, 2020 @ 9:37 AM

Manifestations of real bail problem: A suggested fix unlocked cell

Above and beyond risk aversion, what the examples in the first part of this series show is that the bail system has turned into one where the accused person is required to jump through multiple hoops in order to access what is otherwise their constitutional right. In some contexts, the law on the books has simply been ignored and in others, interpreted in ways that fly in the face of the rights of the accused. In this way, we have come to treat bail as a privilege rather than a right. ... [read more]

Monday, April 20, 2020 @ 2:22 PM

Advice on winning first virtual appeal: Exceptional electronic documents BWvideoconference

Hand-in-hand with the significance of writing persuasive facta, preparing and filing exceptional electronic documents is key to effective e-hearing advocacy. As many among us, both bench and bar, work through the transition to a more virtual delivery of justice there will no doubt be learning curves on all sides. ... [read more]

Monday, April 20, 2020 @ 9:07 AM

Appeal court acquits man on child porn, sex assault charges over ‘litany’ of Charter breaches

The Ontario Court of Appeal has acquitted a man of child pornography and sexual assault charges due to the “reckless disregard” police showed for his constitutional rights following his arrest for filming up the skirt of a stranger at a fair. In R. v. Adler [2020] O.J. No. 1493, the unanimous three-judge panel overturned the appellant’s convictions — along with the 40-month custodial sentence imposed by the trial judge — after finding that the evidence against Daniel Adler should have been excluded thanks to multiple breaches of his rights as an accused. ... [read more]

Friday, April 17, 2020 @ 5:31 PM

First federal prisoner released by warden due to COVID-19; counsel urges big push to release more inmates

In a last-minute settlement, mere hours after Ottawa announced the first federal prisoner death from COVID-19, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) agreed to release early an ailing Ontario inmate in a move counsel says could presage the early release of many more elderly and infirm federal offenders due to the elevated risks they face from COVID-19. ... [read more]

Friday, April 17, 2020 @ 1:58 PM

B.C. Supreme Court extends adjournments until May 29

The B.C. Supreme Court has updated its procedures for criminal, civil and family matters during the COVID-19 pandemic. ... [read more]

Friday, April 17, 2020 @ 1:50 PM

Welcoming e-advocacy: Advice on winning your first virtual appeal V&Wvideoconference

The world of advocacy is changing. With the advent of social distancing how we deliver legal services, and especially how we assist clients navigating the justice system in our courts, has changed abruptly and significantly. ... [read more]

Friday, April 17, 2020 @ 11:02 AM

Problem with Ontario courts: A report from the trenches manwithpilepapers

Ontario’s court system is a behemoth of bureaucracy. When functioning properly, bureaucracy can be beneficial. The criminal justice system requires meticulous record-keeping to operate. Procedures act as safety valves to protect the public. Even sceptics of deterrence’s effectiveness accept that the overall system deters crime. Being dragged into the system provides a deterring effect in the same way that one wants to avoid a vehicle collision to avoid insurance paperwork. ... [read more]

Friday, April 17, 2020 @ 9:43 AM

14-month post-verdict delay due to lack of Gladue reports ‘unreasonable,’ court rules Danielle_Robitaille_sm

An Ontario Court of Appeal decision to reduce a sentence by five months due to post-verdict delay highlights the “lack of institutional resources” to obtain Gladue reports and its effect on the justice system. Counsel involved in the case said lawyers should be “mindful” of delays and review them against this decision to see if there’s a remedy that may be applied. ... [read more]

Thursday, April 16, 2020 @ 2:02 PM

Competing causes-of-death theories should be presented to juries: Ontario Court of Appeal

In reaching a verdict, juries in murder trials ought to be permitted to consider alternate causes of death, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in R. v. Biddersingh 2020 ONCA 241. The court considered an appeal by Everton Biddersingh, who was convicted of first-degree murder in 2016. ... [read more]

Thursday, April 16, 2020 @ 1:16 PM

COVID-19 crisis complicates intimate partner violence issues, lawyers say Pamela Cross

The pressures of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic have been well-documented, with people facing job losses, the inability to see loved ones face-to-face and, in some cases, having to deal with a relative who has lost his or her life after becoming sick. But for those individuals who are facing violence at the hands of their partners, or who have been faced with domestic charges, a new layer of complication is added with the shuttering of courts and difficulties in finding a place to go. ... [read more]