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Racial divide in criminal charges for marijuana use in Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, is often seen as a multicultural city where multiple races enjoy opportunity and equality. However, a Toronto Star analysis recently showed that Black people in the city are disproportionately arrested for small amounts of marijuana possession. Data also shows that Black people in Toronto are more likely to be stopped by police on the street than White people. This can lead to criminal charges with long-term consequences.

The analysis compares 10 years worth of data from official police records. Although marijuana use is consistent across racial lines in the area, arrests and police patrolling focuses on Black offenders. From 2003 to 2013, Toronto police noted the skin colour of 11,299 people they arrested with no prior convictions for possessing up to 30 grams of marijuana. According to the data, 25.2% of those arrested were Black, even though they only made up 8.4% of the population.

As crime rate decreases, charges for illegal substances rise

As the Canadian government seeks to change laws surrounding marijuana usage, statistics show that police officers are increasingly cracking down on pot and other drugs. The police-reported crime rate in Canada has been on steady decline since its peak in 1991. However, Statistics Canada reports that police-reported charges related to illegal substances have been on the rise during this period.

Drug charges increased 52% between 1991 and 2013 across Canada. Marijuana possession accounted for one half of all drug charges in 2013, with two-thirds of drug-related offences being pot related. In all, about one in 20 incidents police reported in 2013 were related to illegal substances. Approximately half of all completed cases involving marijuana had no other charges. Toronto ranked lower in the laying of drug offences compared to other urban areas in Ontario and Canada.

Crowded Ontario courts: Many charges for violent crimes withdrawn

In Ontario, nearly half of all criminal charges are withdrawn before trial. This rate outpaces every other part of Canada. A recent report suggests that screening police charges to assess whether they are frivolous charges or involve truly Violent Crimes could be the solution to this large number of withdrawals and long waits for trail across Ontario.

Cafe explosion may be linked to other violent crimes in Ontario

Organized crime activity in Toronto and the surrounding area has returned to the news following a bombing at Caffé Corretto. Police believe the explosion may be linked to other shootings and incidents at the residences of former and suspected mob members in Southern Ontario. They are investigating any possible ties between this explosion and other recent Violent Crimes 

11 men arrested in Ontario drug trafficking sting

Ontario police officers have been cracking down on alleged gang activity in the Greater Toronto Area. Concerned with drug trafficking and other criminal activities, police officers have arrested 11 residents of York Region. These men were caught up in a sting in which police across Ontario laid 485 charges on 90 men and women.

New evidence presented in Toronto police sexual assault trial

Sexual assault trials are high-stakes affairs for those on both sides of the allegation. These cases are notoriously complex, especially when substance use is involved. This week, the defence for Toronto police officers accused of sexual assault produced video evidence that raised questions for jurors and the general public alike.

During closing arguments, the defence showed a video of an intoxicated man being led into a hotel by his friend. The man, who is one of the accused in the case, was barely able to stand. Further video evidence showed the alleged victim leaving the hotel upright with no apparent issues. The defence argued that under Ontario law, the alleged assailant was the one who was unable to consent based on his intoxicated nature.

Ontario truck driver charged with impaired driving

A truck driver was taken into custody following an incident near Blind River, according to provincial authorities. Ontario Provincial Police arrested the 56-year-old man on suspicion of impaired driving on the night of June 12. The driver was to appear for his first court appearance in Blind River on July 13. 

According to the police report, the Blind River detachment of the OPP received reports of a tractor trailer driving erratically westbound on Highway 17. Police pulled the truck over and made the determination that the man was intoxicated after speaking with him. A search of the vehicle apparently revealed an open liquor bottle as well. He was arrested on site. 

Teacher facing multiple sexual assault accusations from students

To work in a profession that requires one to be in a position of trust can be both a blessing and a curse. The public generally holds such people in high regard; doctors, police officers, teachers and others have respect in their communities. They are also held to a higher standard than most other professionals. When allegations of misconduct circulate, public reaction can be swift and strong, even before a conviction. An Ontario teacher facing charges of sexual assault likely knows all this first hand.

Man charged with impaired driving after strange and fatal crash

Sometimes what begins as simply a poor decision can spiral out of control and turn into something far worse. Recently, a very peculiar accident in the west end of Toronto turned a simple case of alleged impaired driving into a tragedy. The driver now faces several charges, including one for manslaughter.

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