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Toronto Crimes & Misdemeanours Law Blog

How long can police keep items seized in criminal investigation?

Readers are likely well aware of the importance of evidence when it comes to proving or disproving a criminal allegation. Depending on what someone is accused of the evidence will take different forms. When it comes to child pornography offences the use of a computer is often involved. Accordingly, the files found on the computer will be relevant. Of course to determine what files are on computer one must be able to access those files. If they are password protected this can be difficult.

Supreme Court of Canada rules some gun laws unconstitutional

Though not always the case, sometimes violent crimes involve the use of weapons, such as guns. In an effort to try to reduce the number of such cases that occur, the government has made laws that provide serious penalties for gun crime convictions. In 2008, an omnibus bill put new sentencing rules pertaining to gun crime convictions into place. Specifically it instituted mandatory minimums upon conviction. Some of these laws were recently struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Professor acquitted of sexual assault

Being charged with a sexual assault is never desirable as a conviction generally brings serious penalties. That said those who face such an accusation should recognize that a charge will not automatically result in a conviction. During the course of a trial he or she has a chance to create a defence to the charges. A solid defence could result in the accused being acquitted of the charge.

An architecture professor at the University of Toronto recently experienced this. The man was accused of following an acquaintance home, taking her clothing off and groping and climbing on top of her while the woman asked him to stop. In response to the accusations the man claimed that the activity between the two was consensual. He also said that when she asked him to stop, he did.

Judge determines officer lied, man acquitted of weapons charge

When someone is accused of a crime they may feel defeated. While it is of course not desirable to face a criminal charge, those who do should know that a charge is not the same thing as a conviction. Instead, it is one of many phases that together make up a criminal trial.

In the course of the process there are opportunities to fight the charges and either lessen the impact of the charges, have them thrown out completely or be found not guilty. For assistance in identifying those opportunities and taking action upon them, most find it beneficial to work with a criminal defence lawyer.

Uber provides street-side breathalyzers, free rides

Last month residents of Toronto may have noticed a temporary addition to some streets in the city. Uber Canada installed street-side breathalyzers that also served as a way to call an Uber driver as a part of a PR campaign. Individuals who blew into the device and were found to be above the legal limit were offered a free a ride home.

Each person who used the breathalyzer received a new straw so the germs of each user were not spread.

Verdict overturned after trial judge found to have bias

There are many rules that must be followed in the course of a criminal case being decided. Those rules are in place to ensure that the process is a fair one. Accordingly, a deviation from them can result in charges being thrown out or a verdict being overturned. An Ontario resident who was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm recently succeeded in the latter.

The case was overturned after the man appealed the lower court’s decision. On appeal, it was determined that the trial judge who rendered the verdict conducted a personal investigation into the matter before him and the information he obtained prejudiced his decision that the accused was guilty.

Drug raids lead to arrest of 3

There are multiple scenarios that could lead to drug charges. Sometimes they occur in conjunction with an investigation into another crime—such as a traffic stop. Other times they are the result of an investigation that is specifically focused on suspected drug activities that leads to a drug bust. The latter situation recently resulted in the arrest of three people in the Toronto area.

The people were arrested following raids at two homes. According to provincial police, in addition to drug paraphernalia and packaging, the following drugs worth a total of $400,000 were found:

Despite passage of time man charged with sexual assault

While all criminal accusations should be taken seriously, there are certain crimes for which this even more important. Actions that are considered sex crimes fall into this category. This is due to the serious penalties that could be assessed if someone is found guilty of the offence.

Sometimes people who are of interest in a criminal case are not always immediately charged with the crime. This is a stressful place for a suspect to be, particularly if that individual did not commit the crime for which he or she is being investigated. After a certain amount of time passes, that individual may feel as though he or she is in the clear. As the recent arrest of a Toronto man illustrates, if the case is still open, this is not true.

Distinction between edible and dry cannabis at issue in Supreme Court case

The Supreme Court of Canada is currently considering arguments about whether the regulation of medical marijuana -- specifically, edible cannabis products -- is arbitrary and unconstitutional.

The case before the high court follows the acquittal of a British Columbia man who was charged with marijuana possession and marijuana trafficking. In 2009, police found edible marijuana products in his apartment. Those products reportedly included cannabis-infused olive oil and grapeseed oil and marijuana cookies.

Impaired driving case in Halton thrown out because of unreasonable delay

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a person charged with a criminal offence has the right "to be informed without reasonable delay of the specific offence" and the right "to be tried within a reasonable time." If unreasonable delay in either of these capacities occurs, then it may be possible to have the case dismissed.

That was the outcome after more than 11 months of delay in an impaired driving case in Halton. The defendant filed an application to have the charge against him dismissed on the grounds that his trial had been unreasonably delayed. In agreeing with that assertion, the justice hearing the case blamed the court system's backlog on the government's tough-on-crime agenda combined with a lack of government funding.