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Toronto Crimes & Misdemeanours Law Blog

Toronto condo explosion due to meth lab, according to police

A man is dealing with more than burn injuries after an explosion recently blew off the front door of his sixth-floor condo in Toronto's Liberty Village. The 36-year-old has been charged with drug possession for the purpose of trafficking. Specifically, police believe the defendant was operating a meth lab in the residence.

The man was reportedly inside the condo when the blast occurred, and he was able to leave the home and transport himself to hospital to be treated for minor burns. After that, he was arrested. Initially, the explosion was thought to be due to natural gas, but police became suspicious after noticing explosive chemicals, one of which was reportedly acetone. The defendant, who appeared in court on Nov. 18, is expected to face additional charges.

Justices overturn Ontario man's sexual assault conviction

An Ontario man will have a new criminal trial now that the Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned his 2012 conviction. It was alleged that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl nine years ago, and after the initial trial, he was sentenced to three years in prison.

However, the court of appeal found that the 14-year-old girl's mother tried to "trick" the man into confessing. The mother reportedly told the man that she "would understand" if the daughter was the one who initiated sexual contact. At trial, the mother testified that the defendant confessed to her and said that the sexual contact was instigated by the daughter.

Trial of Sudbury pharmacist underway

In addition to jail time and monetary penalties, a criminal charge can lead to damage to a professional's reputation. However, a defence lawyer's early intervention in the legal process may effectively mitigate the negative repercussions of a criminal charge. An allegation does not automatically proceed to a conviction, and every professional accused of a crime has a right to mount a strong criminal defence.

A Sudbury pharmacist is currently responding to six criminal allegations, including a drug trafficking charge. A woman who worked for the pharmacist was given a three-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to drug offences. In a statement read to the court in February, the pharmacist said that his only mistake was not implementing measures to prevent prescription drug theft, and that his trusted employee stole from the pharmacy over a period of time.

Incident in Quebec draws attention to date-rape drugs in Canada

Traces of GHB, a drug commonly associated with date rape, were detected in the system of a teenage girl who was found naked at a Halloween party in Quebec, and the incident has sparked concerns about the use of such drugs across Canada. Ketamine and rohypnol are two other drugs often linked to date rape.

Veterinarians use ketamine as an anesthetic for animals, but rohypnol and GHB are classified as illegal substances under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The human body processes these drugs quite quickly. GHB cannot be traced in the urine after a period of 12 hours, and rohypnol can be untraceable in the blood and urine after 72 hours.

Criminal harassment charges sometimes based on false allegations

A criminal charge that sometimes comes up in connection with domestic disputes is criminal harassment. In Ontario, a criminal harassment charge can be based on a number of types of repetitive, threatening conduct, including harassing emails, text messages or phone calls. Criminal harassment charges may also be based on allegations of stalking or uttering threats against a person or a person's family.

Serious, long-term consequences can result from a criminal harassment conviction. Depending on the facts of the individual case, penalties could range from a protection order to a prison sentence of up to 10 years. However, not everyone accused of criminal harassment is guilty. Sometimes these charges are based on false allegations, and a criminal defence attorney must investigate and present evidence proving the allegations are false.

Man who kissed neighbour convicted of sexual assault in Sarnia

We've discussed before the fact that a person doesn't have to commit an extremely violent act to be charged with sexual assault. Inappropriate or unwelcome sexual touching of any kind can lead to a sexual assault charge.

A 35-year-old man in Sarnia was recently convicted of sexual assault after kissing his neighbour in 2011. The case went to trial in Superior Court, and the justice hearing the case said he believed that the unwanted contact between the man and his neighbour occurred in a sexual context, and that the man used force when he put his tongue in the woman's mouth. She was reportedly wearing a bathing suit in her house at the time, and no one else was around when the man entered the home.

Domestic violence calls down, charges up in Peel

In recent years, Peel Regional Police have taken a "zero tolerance" approach to domestic violence, and Ontario has a provincial "mandatory charge" policy that requires officers to lay a charge if it is reasonable to think that a domestic violence offence has occurred. Consequently, in Brampton and Mississauga, the number of domestic violence charges has risen in the last few years while the number of police calls for domestic violence has declined.

These crisscrossing numbers are discussed in the 2013 Domestic Violence Report, which was recently released by Peel Regional Police. The Mississauga News has more on the specific numbers of domestic violence calls and arrests in recent years.

7 charged in connection with Tyendinaga grow-op

Being accused of growing even a small amount of marijuana in Ontario can lead to serious legal consequences. In addition to fines and incarceration, the penalties for running a grow-op may include a restriction on an individual's ability to cross into the United States. If you have been charged with illegal drug production, then it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side to intervene early in the legal process and develop strategies for protecting your rights and freedom.

Seven individuals will need such a defence after the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and local officers carried out a search warrant at a home in Tyendinaga Territory. The ages of the accused individuals range from 17 to 41. They face charges related to marijuana production and trafficking, as well as possession of cannabis resin.

Penalties expected to increase for drug-impaired driving in Ontario

The Ontario government is expected to approve a number of new traffic law amendments, one of which will increase penalties for driving while under the influence of drugs. Specifically, the penalties for driving while high will be raised to match the penalties for driving while impaired by alcohol. However, it remains to be seen exactly how police officers will obtain evidence that proves without doubt that a driver is impaired by drugs.

Currently, drivers in Ontario are subject to an immediate, three-day licence suspension if their blood-alcohol concentration is found to be more than 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. The suspension is lengthier for each subsequent offence and if the driver's BAC is found to be over 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood.

Judge rules broad search and seizure of child porn unwarranted

As is stated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadians are legally afforded the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. In other words, you should be able to have a reasonable expectation of privacy. In one of our earlier posts, we discussed the matter in relation to a drug crime case that was heard by the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

In a more recent court decision in Ontario, a judge found that Waterloo Regional Police used overzealous tactics to seize evidence against a Kitchener man accused of accessing child pornography. Because the police search was so exhaustive and broad, rather than specific to the videos and images believed to be linked to the defendant, much evidence was excluded from the prosecution's case.