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Sunday, May 07, 2017 @ 12:13 PM

Q&A with Maj.-Gen. Blaise Cathcart Exclusive

Canada’s outgoing Judge Advocate General (JAG) Blaise Cathcart said he is “a bit surprised and disappointed” by some recent criticisms from the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) directed at his office’s ongoing internal review of the court martial system. ... [read more]

Friday, May 05, 2017 @ 4:06 PM

Report on segregation in prison does not go far enough, lawyers say Breese Davies

Ontario released an interim report on May 4 scrutinizing the use of segregation in the province’s prisons and providing recommendations on how solitary confinement should be used. However, some lawyers don’t think the recommendations go far enough. ... [read more]

Friday, May 05, 2017 @ 8:39 AM

DANGEROUS AND LONG-TERM OFFENDERS - Long-term offender designation - Eventual control of risk in community

Appeal by the Crown from a decision dismissing its application to designate Hess as a dangerous offender. Hess, an aboriginal person, had amassed a lengthy criminal record, which included violent offences. During his time in prison, Hess caused three puncture wounds in a jail guard’s neck, and subsequently spent a long period in segregation. After he was released from prison, he stabbed his uncle in the neck. Hess was placed in a psychiatric hospital within a correctional setting, and began receiving treatment for schizophrenia, major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Hess’ psychiatrist testified that Hess responded to treatment well and had gained insight into his illness and behaviour. The sentencing judge concluded that the progression of Hess’ improvement was evidence of his treatability, and that there was a very high degree of probability that the release plan proposed by his psychiatrist would be successful and protect the public. The sentencing judge imposed a total jail term of two years less one day on the predicate offence of aggravated assault. The judge gave Hess seven years’ and ten months’ credit for pre-sentence custody, for an effective sentence of nine years and 10 months. Hess was also placed on a five-year Long Term Supervision Order (LTSO) commencing upon his release after serving the two years less one day term of imprisonment. In total, the sentence imposed provided for seven years of incarceration/supervision of the respondent from the date of sentence. The Crown submitted that the sentencing judge’s fact-finding process was tainted by several errors of law. ... [read more]

Thursday, May 04, 2017 @ 3:46 PM

Four judges appointed to Superior Court of Quebec

Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould on May 4 announced the following appointments under the new judicial application process announced on Oct. 20, 2016. The new process emphasizes transparency, merit and diversity and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity. ... [read more]

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 @ 3:07 PM

P.E.I. Court of Appeal orders new trial for man convicted of molestation

The P.E.I. Court of Appeal on April 25 ordered a new trial for a man found guilty of sexually molesting three daughters of his former partner after the court found problems with the length of time it took to get videotaped statements from the girls. ... [read more]

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 @ 9:42 AM

Parliament passes drug possession immunity for ‘Good Samaritans’ seeking help for overdoses Michael Crystal

People who seek emergency assistance to aid those experiencing opiate overdoses will soon have a new immunity from prosecution for drug possession and breach of conditions relating to drug possession. ... [read more]

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 @ 8:40 AM

Fine line between plain language and inappropriate commentary in judicial decisions | 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. ... [read more]

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 @ 8:32 AM

CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES - Motor vehicles - Impaired driving or driving over the legal limit - Breathalyzer or blood sample demand - Certificate of analysis

Appeal by the Crown from the acquittal of the accused, Schofield, of driving with an illegal blood-alcohol level. Following a traffic stop and interaction with police, the accused was taken to an RCMP detachment for the provision of breath samples. The arresting officer gave the accused a copy of the Certificate and Notice of Intention. The accused was detained thereafter until his release. At the first trial, the Certificate was excluded due to a lack of sufficient grounds for the breath sample demand. The Crown successfully appealed. At the second trial, the Certificate and Notice were introduced as an exhibit without objection by defence counsel. The defence called no evidence. During final submissions, the defence argued the accused was never provided with a copy of the Certificate and Notice, as it had been taken away from him on the night of the offence prior to his detention. The defence submitted there was no evidence the Certificate and Notice were returned to the accused upon his release. The Crown argued that the marking of the Certificate and Notice as exhibits at the first trial constitute sufficient proof of provision to the accused. The trial judge found insufficient proof of service and entered an acquittal. The Crown appealed. ... [read more]

Tuesday, May 02, 2017 @ 6:28 PM

MP questions judges’ concerns over sexual assault training bill Norman Sabourin

The Canadian Judicial Council’s (CJC) contention that proposed legislation targeting judicial bungling of sexual assault cases impinges on judicial independence met with some pushback in Parliament May 2. ... [read more]

Tuesday, May 02, 2017 @ 6:56 AM

COMPELLING APPEARANCE, DETENTION AND RELEASE - Judicial interim release or bail - Review of

Appeal by the accused, Passera, from refusal of a writ of habeas corpus with certiorari in aid. In August 2014, the accused was arrested for importing cocaine. She was convicted at trial and detained pending sentencing. On the date of sentencing, the accused filed a constitutional challenge in respect of the provisions governing credit for time served. Prior to the hearing of the constitutional challenge, and approximately 26 months after her initial arrest, the accused applied for judicial interim release. The accused relied upon s. 523(2)(a) of the Criminal Code in seeking to vacate her detention order and permit her release pending the completion of trial upon imposition of sentence. The trial judge dismissed the application on the basis the accused failed to show cause why her detention was not justified on the tertiary ground. Two months later, the accused applied for prerogative relief seeking her release with declaratory relief that the absence of a review mechanism breached her ss. 7 and 9 Charter rights. The application judge denied the relief sought. The accused appealed. ... [read more]