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Toronto Crimes & Misdemeanours Law Blog

Supreme Court hears case regarding mandatory minimum sentencing

In earlier posts we have referenced the importance of building a defence to criminal charges if you face them. The reason for this is the impact the penalties tied to a conviction might have. A good example of this is the mandatory minimums that have been in place since 2012, regarding various crimes. The Supreme Court recently heard a case challenging the application of these laws in connection with a drug crime.

The case involves a man who, in 2013, was found guilty of drug trafficking. When he was arrested, he was in possession of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine. At that time, despite ruling the mandatory minim prison sentence of one year was unconstitutional, under section 12 of the Charter, the man nonetheless received that sentence. Upon appeal, another six months was added to the sentence.

Man found not guilty of online harassment via Twitter

Last summer we wrote a post regarding trial that was taking place in Toronto. A man was charged with criminal harassment of two women who were considered political feminists. The harassment was allegedly committed via Twitter. He was accused of engaging in the activity for three months in 2012.

At trial, the Crown pointed to multiple activities the man engaged in that the women thought constituted harassment. These activities included tweeting things at the women that were mean and insulting, and making lewd comments about the body of one of the women. He also called them each “bitch.”

Woman wins DWI case based on unconstitutional police search

When it comes to drunken driving charges, an experienced criminal defense attorney is invaluable. Whatever the facts and circumstances of the case may be, having a zealous advocate at one’s side can help ensure one receives the best possible defense. In some cases, there may be issues with the adequacy of evidence prosecutors are presenting. In other cases, there may be legal technicalities that need to be addressed. In some cases, there may be issues with the way law enforcement gathered evidence which can impact the case.  

An example of the latter can be seen in the case of a woman who was cleared earlier this month of drunken driving charges due to a constitutional violation. The woman had been arrested in Toronto after her vehicle was seen violating traffic regulations. Officers reported she smelled of alcohol and she admitted to having a drink. The woman reportedly failed a roadside breathalyzer and was later measured to have a blood alcohol concentration around twice the legal limit. 

Facebook used in investigation against teacher

Throughout the nation, and world, people turn to Facebook for entertainment, to share news and to communicate. While in some cases it may be used to reunite former acquaintances, other times it brings people together who have never met in person. The reasons why strangers might connect via Facebook are many, and may are not be innocent in nature. As a teacher from the Greater Toronto Area recently found out, law enforcement is aware of this and understands how to use the social media site for its own purposes.

Charges may be laid for sexual assault long after alleged act

In Ontario, there is not a certain amount of time during which sexual assault charges must be laid. Because of this, years—even decades—can pass, before someone might face criminal charges related to an alleged activity. Charges brought so long after the fact can be a surprise to the person facing them, leaving them reeling and unsure of how to proceed.

While the passage of time could make it harder for the crown to make its case, this does not mean that the accused should sit idly by. Instead, if you are in this situation you should be proactive and quickly work to begin to build a defence. For most people, the first step is to contact a criminal defence lawyer.

Domestic violence charges should be taken seriously

All criminal charges have the potential to dramatically impact the life of the accused, if they are found guilty. In most cases the serious consequences do not begin until a guilty verdict is rendered. This is not the case where domestic violence is concerned, however. Even upon being accused, someone can begin to experience negative repercussions—even if the person is innocent.

In most cases, when the police arrive, an accused can expect they will removed from their home. Upon removal they will be taken into custody until a bail hearing occurs. If the accused has children, the arrest can also result in issues of access and custody. This is a result of mandatory charge and prosecution policies.

Rules pertaining to collection of evidence in place for a reason

We have previously written about the important role evidence can play in establishing guilt or innocence related to a criminal charge. That evidence must be obtained in accordance with certain rules. Among other things, the evidence collected must not be overbroad. These rules are in place to protect the civil rights of residents of Ontario. Recently, an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled on a matter of this nature related to the collection of cell phone records.

Ontario's holiday drunk driving program leads to 573 arrests

The holiday season is enjoyable for many people in the province of Ontario. Among other reasons, this is due to the number of parties that are helped to observe the holidays. When alcohol is served at these events it is possible people could have too much to drink and then get behind the wheel of a car to drive home. Accordingly, law enforcement is often on high alert for drunk drivers as a part of the OPP’s holiday RIDE program. This could lead to an increase in the number of drunk driving arrests that occur. 

Criminal accusation will inform defence approach

When someone is accused of committing a crime, most want to find a way to secure the most positive outcome possible. Because there is often a lot for an accused to lose and these matters are complicated, it is generally advisable to seek assistance from a criminal defence lawyer in determining the best course of action. It may involve mounting an aggressive defense at trial. Because no two cases are alike, the defence offered will vary depending on the specific circumstances.

A man accused of sexual assault recently offered an interesting defence to the allegations.

Bill Cosby and US Statute of Limitations

Bill Cosby was recently charged in Pennsylvania with aggravated indecent sexual assault. During numerous radio commentaries I have been asked about the concept of limitation periods. Each US State has limitation periods. This can be viewed as a bar to a victim's voice for an offence she or he could not report due to social stigma, embarrassment or emotional trauma. In Canada there are no time limitations. I have defended cases going back 40 years and was part of the Cornwall Public Inquiry that looked into why allegations of historical abuse were not prosecuted. There is no doubt that many victims of crime can be marginalized and vulnerable without a support system to help them come forward with abuse allegations.