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Toronto Crimes & Misdemeanours Law Blog

Manufacturer charged with producing controlled substances

Are synthetic drugs illegal? Health Canada and the police say they are, but the CEO of one of the biggest synthetic drug manufacturers says that none of the ingredients of his company's products are considered controlled substances. So, who is right? There is no real answer, but if the police and Health Canada have said the drugs are illegal, an individual could find him- or herself in serious trouble, even if the drugs are eventually considered legal.

Even if a judge agrees with the CEO, synthetic drug producers may find themselves arrested and charged with drug charges. Producers will want to hire criminal defence lawyers to argue just why the drugs should be considered legal. Since the Crown will most likely call officials from Health Canada as witnesses, a producer will want to work closely with his or her lawyer to highlight the uncertain legal classification of these substances.

Convicting a defendant in the court of public opinion

Canadian law says that anyone accused of a crime will be considered innocent until he or she is proven guilty. Without this rule in place, it might be incredibly common for individuals to be convicted on the nature of the charges alone. The more repulsive, frightening or serious the crime, the harder it would be not to convict the individual. Fortunately for people in Toronto, the rule is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The nature of sex crimes makes them immediately unpopular. There are very few people who are willing to stick up for people who have been charged with sexual assault, which just goes to show that defendants who have had charges dropped or who have been acquitted will likely face a long road in order to rebuild their reputations.

Marijuana manufacturer's crop seized by law enforcement

As we discussed a few weeks ago, the federal medical marijuana laws have been changing, which has been quite confusing for both patients, as well as providers. It is not just patients who can get in trouble if they are not in strict compliance with the medical marijuana laws. If a grower, producer or manufacturer isn't following the letter of the law, the individuals involved in the business could face trafficking charges. The problem is, with the lack of clarity on just what is and what is not legal, it is increasingly difficult for patients and producers to comply with the rules.

It may even be that law enforcement is not sure what is legal anymore. It turns out that the first publicly traded marijuana manufacturer, based out of Smiths Falls, Ontario, had its product seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The company had been trying to be aboveboard about the whole transaction, even inviting the RCMP to view the shipment when it arrived from British Columbia. Instead, law enforcement took the marijuana.

Sexual assault, murder witness was on Skype during crime

In order for someone to be charged with and convicted of something as serious as sexual assault or murder, there must be sufficient credible evidence to support the conviction. And, in order for that evidence to be admitted into court, it must be lawfully gathered. Not only does this keep the criminal justice system fair for all Canadians, but it also protects against government intrusion into our affairs.

Approximately three years ago, a York University student was raped and killed in her apartment while her ex-boyfriend was communicating with her by Skype. While it must certainly have been traumatic for him and certainly was for her family, it is important that before the man accused of her murder is only convicted on sufficient and credible evidence. The shocking nature of her murder cannot be used to push through a quick conviction.

Brampton athlete forgives police brutality

Although the name Orlando Bowen may not be on everyone's lips in the Greater Toronto Area, this Brampton resident was once a linebacker for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. His football career has since ended due to a concussion, a concussion he suffered after he says he was beaten police outside of a Mississauga night club. The football player had been standing near his car when two men approached him looking for drugs. When he said he didn't have any, one of the men took him by the arm. Though the football player was able to escape and ran down the street, he stopped when one of the men threatened to shoot.

It was also at that time that Bowen realised that the two men were plainclothes police officers. He said they beat him to the ground and planted cocaine on him. Shortly thereafter, he was brought to the jail and charged with cocaine possession and assaulting a police officer. Fortunately for him, his charges were dropped after one of the officers was charged with drug trafficking and drug possession.

Man lives with wrongful rape allegatoin for 40 years

While there are very few things that are as traumatic as rape, there are also very few criminal charges that carry such weight as rape. Even though it is always important to be sensitive to anyone in Markham who claims to have been raped, it is always important that an accuser's story is checked out so that someone is not wrongfully convicted of the crime. In the Crown's effort to hold people accountable for rape, it is essential that someone's liberty is not sacrificed.

Sadly, it has taken more than 40 years for a now-Alberta man to escape from a wrongful sexual assault allegation. In 1970, the then-19-year-old man was living in Nova Scotia when he was accused of rape by a 14-year-old. What could have been resolved by a quick paternity test today has taken a considerable amount of time to sort itself out. It was only in 2008 that the now-woman has said that it was her brother who sexually assaulted her, not the man who was accused of raping her.

Citizens can continue to grow marijuana if previously approved

There are many people in the Greater Toronto Area who have been given permission to posses or grow their own medical marijuana, but after the Conservative government changed the regulations to only allow for commercial growing of marijuana, several individual citizens filed a lawsuit. Fortunately, the federal courts have sided with the individuals, saying that anyone who already has a license to grow marijuana can continue to do so. This is important for anyone who is currently cultivating marijuana as medicine for themselves or others.

While Health Canada issued a warning that patients who grew their own marijuana would be reported to police if they did not destroy their plants, it is entirely possible that not everyone who has a license was aware of the change in regulations. This means that, had the injunction not come through, many people who thought they were complying with the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations would actually have been at risk of criminal prosecution. It is unknown if anyone in Ontario was arrested and charged in the time between when the new regulations were enacted and when the injunction was handed down.

Young man charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle

Everyone makes mistakes; this is an unavoidable fact of life. Some mistakes are relatively minor, like forgetting to turn the lights off when leaving home. Some are more major. Although most of us in Toronto wish our mistakes to be forgiven, when a mistake becomes criminal, it can mean serious punishment, a criminal record and all the negative consequences that come with both. When those mistakes are made young (as they so often are), the effects of a criminal conviction can haunt someone for years to come.

For a young man from Tilbury, he could be facing a rough time if convicted of impaired driving and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. The 22-year-old was stopped in the early morning by Chatham-Kent police in Tilbury. It is not entirely clear what drew police to this driver as reports do not indicate that he was swerving, drifting or otherwise driving dangerously. Once stopped, however, he was arrested and held.

Debate over synthetic drugs lands sellers in trouble

Do we all know what is legal or illegal? If something is being sold online or in plain view in a Toronto store is it illegal? Although many of us in the Greater Toronto Area are convinced that we can spot criminal activity when it happens, it may not always be as clear-cut as we think. For the manufacturers of synthetic drugs, there is some debate over whether producing the drugs is legal; the producers and sellers say it is, the police say it isn't.

So what do you do in this kind of situation? Well, if the police have arrested you, taken your synthetic drugs and are charging you with a crime, the best thing to do is to speak with a criminal defence lawyer. Not only can a criminal defence lawyer help explain the law (to both you and the police), but they can also argue against the Crown should the charges end up before the court.

Judge: broom and spices are weapons

It may seem ridiculous to many people in Toronto, especially those who own shops, restaurants or small businesses, but a Toronto judge has found a restauranteur guilty of trying to stand up against someone he thought was a thief. The restaurant owner has been convicted of assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm, both of which are serious crimes. Even if he doesn't receive a particularly long or harsh sentence, he will still have a criminal record that marks him as someone who has committed assault.

The incident happened in August 2011 after the restaurant owner had suffered a series of thefts. According to the owner, he was merely trying to stop the man who he believed had been stealing from him. Instead, he caught the wrong man in the alley behind the restaurant.