It must have been shocking for neighbors to learn that a 15-year-old Mississauga girl was charged with second-degree murder following what police are reporting as a stabbing. Though the Peel Regional Police will not confirm the girl's relationship with the man who was stabbed, they have confirmed that the two lived in the home together, which could prompt domestic violence charges, as well. Neighbours told the Toronto Sun that it was the girl's father who was stabbed.
At what point should employers penalise their employees for a criminal conviction? Is it ever appropriate? Should employers care if an employee has a criminal record? It seems that the Toronto police force cares, as it has recently decided to suspend without pay a police constable who was convicted of -- but is appealing -- a charge of assault with a weapon. The 33-year-old constable was accused of using excessive force on a G20 protester in 2010. Even though the officer is currently out on bail during the appeal process, his career is at risk.
Although everyone in Toronto has been made painfully aware of Mayor Rob Ford's drug issues, they may not know of the other people who have also been arrested in the aftermath. Many of the people who have since been arrested are convinced that they were targeted by Ford, but whether Ford directed the Toronto police force toward these individuals remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is that the north Etobicoke apartment complex was raided after wiretapped conversations sent police there.
At what point does a game turn into something criminal? That is something that an 18-year-old high school student's criminal defence attorney will have to flesh out when his or her client appears in court. What started as an ill-advised but innocent game has turned into a serious assault charge against the teenager.
Most adults in Toronto realise that they have a wide range of rights available to them and that police must respect those rights. The one exception to that may be teenagers; even though 18-year-olds are adults in Ottawa, it does not mean that they have the same understanding of the legal system that a, say, 40-year-old would. This often means that teenagers will volunteer information to police without realising that they need not say anything at all. They may also give police permission to search their person or their things when police would otherwise need a warrant.
Since 1977 York University's Institute for Social Research for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has polled Ontario teens every two years about their alcohol and drug habits. The results have been illuminating, and it seems teens are now more likely to use marijuana and drive than they are to drink and drive. Both are considered impaired driving, which means that Ontario teenagers may be in danger of developing a criminal record before graduating high school.
There is a reason why drunk driving is so heavily punished in Ontario: it can be quite dangerous. There are some people who drive while so intoxicated that they can barely operate a car, putting their lives and the lives of all others on the road in danger. There are, of course, many other people who, under the strict letter of the law, are intoxicated who can and do safely operate their vehicles and avoid accidents. When it comes to the Ontario Provincial Police, however, these two kinds of drivers are treated quite the same.
Although most people in Etobicoke are well aware that their American neighbors are known for jailing a large number of people, they may not realize that Canada's prison population is also swelling. The numbers are frightening: the prison population is 3,000 more than it was just 10 years ago and the number of visible minorities in Canadian prisons is up 75 percent. With such shocking statistics, however, come some very serious questions about what can be done.
The words "sexual assault" are certainly not positive. Few people in Toronto are willing to defend individuals accused of sexual offences because the charges alone are enough to make the suspects social pariahs. Yet, just like anyone else charged with a crime in Canada, people arrested on suspicion of sexual assault are presumed innocent. Only if the Crown can make a compelling case based on facts and evidence, not emotion, can the individual be found guilty and sentenced. Without sufficient evidence, however, the individual must be let go and the charges dropped.