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July 2016 Archives

Probation for man charged with domestic assault in Niagara

Any violent crime, and domestic assault in particular, is a serious matter. For those facing charges for domestic assault, just as serious is the need for a strong criminal defence strategy. Consider the case of a domestic assault that recently came before the court in St. Catherines, Ontario. 

Victim of domestic assault in Kingston denies attack occurred

It is well-known that many cases of violence against spouses or partners go unreported by victims, and the offenders regularly go unpunished. However, charges can be laid by police in Ontario without the cooperation of victims if the authorities have a reasonable suspicion that a domestic assault occurred. This is known as the "mandatory charging policy," and such a case recently came to light in Kingston.

Drug-impaired Ontario drivers will be subject to more suspensions

According to the Toronto Sun, beginning on October 2, Ontario law enforcement will have broader power in roadside stops. A police officer will then be allowed to issue “escalating roadside driving suspensions of three, seven or 30 days” if the officer has a reasonable belief that the driver in question was driving while impaired by the use of drugs

Drug charges for marijuana possession still pursued

When it comes to laying criminal charges, in some cases the Crown has leeway regarding whether a charge is filed. This means that someone could find that they are being prosecuted for a possession of a small portion of drugs such as marijuana. While legalization of the drug appears to be on the horizon, the federal government is nonetheless still pursuing charges for even very small amounts. This is illustrated in the arrest of a man in the fall of 2014.

Study finds lack of ethnic diversity among Canadian judges

This week, CBC News published an article by The Canadian Press about a study recently posted in the magazine Policy Options that concluded that of the 2,160 judges in superior and lower provincial courts, only three per cent are members of “racial minorities” and only one per cent is Aboriginal. 

London priest charged with theft of funds for refugees

A Chaldean Catholic priest of London has been charged with the theft of $500,000 that was raised to help sponsor refugees for resettlement. The 51-year-old clergyman has been under investigation since February for misappropriation of funds meant for the church-sponsored program. 

Supreme Court of Canada expands scope of police search powers

On June 23, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down an opinion that significantly expands the power of Canadian police to conduct intrusive body searches on criminal defendants without first obtaining judicial warrants. In R. v. Saeed, law enforcement — without a warrant — required the arrested suspect in a sexual assault case to perform a penile swab on himself in an attempt to gather DNA evidence of the victim.

Supreme Court speaks on Charter right to a speedy trial: Part 3

We return today to a topic we have covered twice before: last week’s important Supreme Court of Canada decision that established a new framework for a Canadian court to use in measuring whether a delay to a criminal trial was unreasonable in violation of the defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial. 

Self defence approach addressed in Court of Appeal decision

When a charge is laid against someone on the province of Ontario, there are multiple approaches that might be taken to defend against it. Because no two cases are exactly alike, when deciding the best way to proceed, it is important to look to the specifics of the alleged criminal incident. It is possible those facts could result in a defense that may not be obvious. In some cases self defence could be claimed. Recently, the Court of Appeal addressed this issue.

Charge dismissed due to violation of right to freedom of religion

There are multiple reasons why a criminal case might be dismissed in the province of Ontario. One of those reasons is when law enforcement fails to follow the policies established to protect the rights of those taken into custody. Activities that constitute a violation of those rights may not be as obvious as someone thinks. An Ontario man recently learned this firsthand.

Charter rights: more on the right to trial within reasonable time

Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada overhauled how a Canadian court will evaluate whether a criminal defendant’s right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to trial within a reasonable time has been impinged. In a previous post, we discussed the case of R. v. Jordan in which the Supreme Court established a new framework that sets a presumptive ceiling of reasonable time between bringing criminal charges and concluding the trial. 

Uncertainty about the nature of new Schedule I drug W-18

On June 1, the Canadian federal government added a synthetic drug called W-18 to the list of drugs on Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or CDSA. Schedule I drug offenses are the most serious and can result in the severe sentences and penalties for convictions for related drug crimes.

Charter rights: New framework to measure reasonable time to trial

Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada issued two important cases with significant impact on the Charter rights of Canadians accused of crimes. The court established a new framework for lower courts to use when they assess whether the length of time criminal defendants wait for trial complies with the constitutional right to trial within a reasonable time. 

MADD Canada plans ahead for drug-impaired drivers

In a recent post we wrote about the dramatic increase in the number of drivers arrested in Toronto for drug-impaired driving. As we noted in that post, the arrests were due to the use of different drugs before driving, including marijuana. The likely legalization of marijuana in Canada could lead to even more arrests of this nature.

Toronto sees increase in impaired-driving charges

It is fair to say that most drivers are aware that drunk driving is against the law. Law enforcement officers and other entities often run campaigns to keep residents of the Toronto area aware of the dangers that are tied to the activity. From time to time there are also enforcement initiatives during which time it is not uncommon for there to be an increase in the number of people arrested for suspicion of committing the crime.

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