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Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 2:31 PM

Roussel named Canada's new director of public prosecutions

Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould announced the appointment of Kathleen Roussel as the next director of public prosecutions. ... [read more]

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 9:08 AM

Alberta court overturns drug conviction from roadside stop Chris Lavier

The Alberta Court of Appeal has overturned the drug trafficking conviction of a man because there were “reviewable errors on the question of the objective presence of reasonable and probable grounds” for his arrest. ... [read more]

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 9:06 AM

Ontario appeal court decision reveals complexities of sexual assault cases Anne London-Weinstein

How can a jury acquit on sexual assault but convict on similar offences? ... [read more]

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 8:57 AM

Supreme Court decision on bail a potential sea change

In addition to the challenges posed by interpretation of legislation, including the Charter, and the review of all manner of legal issues raised at trial and on appeal in Canadian courts, the Supreme Court of Canada can and does weigh in on areas of justice system policy and practice that are worthy of review. That they’ve chosen to do so on the subject of judicial interim release pending trial in the recent decision of R. v. Antic has the potential to achieve significant changes to the criminal justice system. ... [read more]

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 6:28 AM

Alberta court of appeal judge calls for random assignment of judges to panels Alice Woolley

The Alberta Court of Appeal’s most senior puisne judge has charged that Alberta’s top judge has given “certain” unnamed judges on their court “a disproportionate opportunity ... to shape” its sentencing jurisprudence — thus potentially breeding public “suspicions or perceptions of want of impartiality” at the court. ... [read more]

Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 11:49 AM

SENTENCING - Procedure - Jurisdiction to impose sentence

Appeal by the offender, Buyck, from a sentence for sexual assault. The offender sexually assaulted his girlfriend's daughter by sexually touching her while she was unconscious from intoxication. The underlying proceedings involved 31 court appearances over two years. Prior to sentencing, the offender was assisted by three lawyers and amicus curiae. The offender initially sought a jury trial after waiving a preliminary inquiry. Approximately eight months later, the offender re-elected trial by judge alone and entered a guilty plea. An adjournment was granted to prepare pre-sentence and Gladue reports. Hours later, the offender advised his lawyer that he wanted the fact that he was in a relationship with the complainant to be added to the agreed statement of facts. A series of adjournments ensued, following which counsel withdrew and indicated the offender sought to strike his guilty plea. Five months later, the offender abandoned the plea application. The court was advised that the disagreement over the facts did not involve essential elements of the offence. Upon continuation six months later, the offender indicated he did not admit any of the facts in support of his plea. The offender advised he sought to withdraw his plea due to the belief he would be sentenced by way of a sentencing circle. The judge denied the application to strike the plea, appointed amicus curiae, and imposed an 18-month custodial sentence plus probation. The offender appealed. ... [read more]

Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

It’s time to re-evaluate the jury system | Michael Spratt

Criminal trials are high stakes affairs. Unlike civil disputes criminal trials are not merely monetary. In criminal trials the defendants’ liberty and freedom hang in the balance. To lose a serious criminal trial means jail – confinement in a dirty, violent, and punitive Dickensian hellhole. Monetary damages can be reversed, property losses can be compensated but a wrongful incarceration is a scar that never heals. So when it comes to criminal trials — especially involving serious allegations — we better get it right. So, for the most serious criminal matters who does our justice system trust to get it right? ... [read more]

Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 9:28 AM

McCarthy's Doust honoured for criminal, commercial law work

Leonard Doust, associate counsel in McCarthy Tétrault’s litigation group, received special honours for 50 years of practice and outstanding contributions to the criminal law profession at the Canadian Bar Association's Vancouver Criminal Law Subsection annual dinner on June 22. ... [read more]

Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 8:45 AM

CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES - Breach of long-term supervision order

Appeal by the Crown from Bird’s acquittal on a charge of violating a term of his long-term supervision. In May 2005, Bird was declared a long-term offender and ordered to serve a prison term followed by a period of long-term supervision. Bird was granted statutory release three times, and re-incarcerated for violating his release terms, before completing his prison term. When Bird left prison, the Parole Board placed a condition on the long-term supervision requiring Bird to reside at a community correctional centre, community residential facility or other residential facility approved by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) for a period of 180 days. The Parole Board had accepted the CSC’s conclusion that Bird’s plan to return to the Ahtahkakoop First Nation to reside with his brother was not sufficient to manage his risk in the community. Bird took up residence at Oskana Centre, a community correctional centre, in January 2015, but left before the end of the month and did not return. He was charged with breaching his long-term supervision order upon his apprehension in April 2015. He defended the charge by arguing that the residency requirement was unlawful. The trial judge agreed, finding the requirement to be a violation of s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) on the basis that it obliged Bird to live in a penal institution even though his prison term was complete. The judge found no statutory or regulatory authority for incarcerating Bird as part of his long-term supervision. ... [read more]

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 6:07 PM

Ottawa says broad new immunity for CSIS crimes is Charter-compliant Paul Cavalluzzo

Ottawa says its move to give designated CSIS employees and their agents new immunities from prosecution for breaking the law in the line of duty is constitutional as it tracks a similar immunity legislated for police 15 years ago that has survived Charter attack. ... [read more]