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Monday, April 10, 2017 @ 1:41 PM

N.L. budget gives additional funding to justice system

Newfoundland and Labrador's 2017 budget unveiled on April 6 includes increased funding for the justice system. ... [read more]

Monday, April 10, 2017 @ 10:45 AM

PROCEDURE - Trial judge's duties - Charge or directions

Appeal by Foerster from conviction before a judge and jury for first degree murder. The 18-year-old victim failed to meet her friends as scheduled. She had sent and received several text messages while en route. A search ensued and the deceased was found unresponsive in a bushed area. Foerster died from her injuries the following morning. The cause of her death was determined to be diffuse bleeding in the brain caused by a series of blunt force injuries to the back of her head. Evidence of a hemorrhage in one of the victim's eyes was consistent with strangulation. Foerster's DNA was detected on a fingernail sample. Cell phone records showed that Foerster was in the area where the victim was found at around the time she sustained her injuries. The Crown and Foerster agreed that the last text message the victim sent to her boyfriend read "Beeing crreped", but was meant to read "Being creeped". Foerster admitted that he caused the victim's injuries. He stated that he hit her more than once with a metal flashlight and that he was involved in a scuffle with her that took them to the bushes where she was found. He also admitted that he choked the victim with a shoelace before fleeing the scene. He further admitted that he subsequently disposed of the flashlight, the shoelace and his coat in a dumpster several kilometers away. While Foerster admitted that he was guilty of culpable homicide, he contended that he was only guilty of manslaughter or second degree murder, and that the trial judge made numerous errors in charging the jury. ... [read more]

Friday, April 07, 2017 @ 3:36 PM

Ottawa appoints two judges to Ontario courts

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced judicial appointments to the Ontario Court of Appeal and Superior Court of Justice on April 7. ... [read more]

Friday, April 07, 2017 @ 9:57 AM

Courage under fire — five years at Supreme Court for Justice Moldaver Exclusive

After 44 years devoted to the criminal law, Supreme Court Justice Michael Moldaver still loses sleep over tough cases like R. v. Jordan — last year’s Charter blockbuster which aimed to speed up the sclerotic justice system but whose fallout led to the dismissal of some murder and child sexual assault charges. ... [read more]

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 @ 4:53 PM

Private member’s bill would require sexual assault case training for judicial candidates Anne London-Weinstein

A private member’s bill coming before the Ontario Legislature will look to ensure that those recommended for a provincial court judge position have training on how to handle sexual violence and harassment cases. ... [read more]

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 @ 12:43 PM

More eligible for legal aid in Ontario

Legal Aid Ontario raised the income threshold for eligibility for legal aid by six per cent on April 1, enabling 144,000 more Ontarians to qualify for assistance. ... [read more]

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 @ 11:21 AM

Silence not the answer to Ottawa's police controversies | Michael Spratt

Short years before his assassination Robert Kennedy, who at the time was United States Attorney General, observed, "Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on." At the time Kennedy was of course embroiled in the fight against organized crime and police corruption. But his words apply equally well to the city of Ottawa’s police force. You see, there is a problem in Ottawa ­— our police force is embroiled in controversy. ... [read more]

Tuesday, April 04, 2017 @ 8:33 AM

JUDICIAL INTERIM RELEASE OR BAIL - Pending appeal - Grounds for denial - Detention necessary to maintain confidence in the administration of justice - Review of

Appeal by Oland from a judgment of the New Brunswick Court of Appeal denying him bail pending the determination of his appeal against conviction. Oland applied for bail pending appeal following his conviction on a charge of second degree murder involving the death of his father. His application was denied under the public interest criterion set out in s. 679(3)(c) of the Criminal Code. While public safety was not in issue, the appeal judge was not persuaded that public confidence in the administration of justice would be maintained if Oland were to be released. The appeal judge found that the gravity and brutality of the offence weighed in favour of Oland’s detention. While the grounds of appeal put forward by Oland were “clearly arguable”, they were not of such unique strength as to “virtually assure a new trial or an acquittal”. On balance, the appeal judge was not persuaded that public confidence in the administration of justice would be maintained if Oland were to be released. Accordingly, he dismissed the application for release pending appeal. A review of the detention order by a three-judge panel of the appeal court, as directed by the Chief Justice of New Brunswick under s. 680(1), proved unsuccessful. In dismissing Oland’s application for review, the panel determined that Oland had failed to show any error in the reasons of the appeal judge that would warrant interference; nor had he persuaded the panel that his detention in the circumstances was clearly unreasonable. Oland appealed the review panel’s decision, but prior to the appeal being heard, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal allowed his appeal from conviction, ordered a new trial and granted his release on bail pending his re-trial. Accordingly, Oland’s appeal from the review panel’s order upholding his detention order was rendered moot. However, in light of the unanimous position taken by the parties and interveners that guidance was needed from the Court to resolve inconsistent approaches to bail taken by appellate courts across the country, and given that the appeal met the criteria established in Borowski, the Court decided to hear the appeal on its merits. ... [read more]

Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 1:55 PM

Ontario court rules police search of home breached man's Charter rights Craig Bottomley

The Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled on March 29 that the Superior Court of Justice wrongly extended a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision in allowing police to enter a home without a warrant. ... [read more]

Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 11:54 AM

EVIDENCE - Documentary evidence - Electronic records - Privilege - Informants - Publication bans and confidentiality orders

Appeal by Vice Media (Vice) and Makuch from the dismissal of applications to quash a production order and to unseal the record supporting the production order. Between June and October 2014, Makuch wrote and Vice published three articles about the involvement of Shirdon with the terrorist group ISIS in the Middle East. The articles were based upon communications between Makuch and Shirdon through a text messaging service. Shirdon was under investigation for several terrorism-related offences at the time. Makuch’s articles purported to confirm that Shirdon was an ISIS combatant. The police sought a production order directing Vice and Makuch to produce documents and data relating to their communications with Shirdon. The issuing judge ordered the production of all paper printouts, screen captures and computer records of all communications with Shirdon via text and directed that all information relating to the application for the production order should be sealed. Vice examined its records and advised the police that the only materials in its possession covered by the production order were some instant messenger chats between Makuch and Shirdon, and screen captures of the chats. Makuch and Vice did not produce the material, but instead applied to quash the production order and to unseal the record relied upon by the police to obtain it. The applications judge found the order reasonable and refused to quash it. The judge found that the material sought was the best and most reliable evidence of what Shirdon said, and could provide direct evidence against Shirdon on the outstanding charges. He noted that Shirdon was not a confidential source and that much of the information sought had already been placed in the public domain by Makuch in his articles. In sealing the record supporting the production order, the judge accepted that there were national security reasons for sealing and/or redacting portions of the record. He also accepted redactions of the identity of an individual who had provided information to the police affiant and of the future steps the police intended to take in investigating Shirdon. The applications judge also made a non-publication order with respect to the affidavit, citing Shirdon’s fair trial rights. ... [read more]