A seven-yearold Facebook message has scuttled a conviction against a man accused by his ex-wife of sexually assaulting and threatening to kill her....had it been allowed at trial, could have affected the guilty verdict handed down to the man, who can only be identified as A.B., The Court of Appeal concluded “It would not be unfair to say that the message recounted several incidents of sexual activity between the appellant and complainant, and made it clear that the sexual activity was consensual on the complainant’s part.”
In his application, Justice Rowe asks "Should the Court lead or mirror a shared sense of Justice?" and answers his own question by saying that "it should lead when the time is ripe to do so." His answer echoes the recent decision of Madam Justice Rosalie Abella in the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour case, where she and four colleagues invented for the first time in Canadian history a constitutional "right" to strike.
The most objectionable part of the majority’s ruling, however, is that it appears the justices went looking for a case that gave them an excuse to overturn the law.
As judicial officers, we are supposed to know the law and apply it according to our legal interpretation. We expect and accept that if one or both parties disagree with the court’s decision, they have the right to appeal. It thus comes as a shock when prosecutors attempt to wrestle jurisdiction from the court, through a variety of unacceptable tactics, rather than exercise their right of appeal.
"I found McLean’s book to be a “true life whodunit!” Was the hypothermic death of Neil Stonechild accidental? Did the aftermath of his death result in a sensational tabloid witch-hunt of members of the Saskatoon Police Service? Was the Commission of Inquiry an impartial process? YOU BE THE JUDGE!"– W.G.Craig
Superior Court Justice James Brunton ended the murder trial of five men who were alleged to have been members of the Sherbrooke chapter of the Hells Angels. As a result of Brunton’s ruling, they all walked away free.The judge also said the actions of the Crown made him conclude that there was no remedy available, for example a new trial, to correct the problem.
As it turns out, Morice received $120,822 from Ottawa in compensation for similar abuse allegedly committed by another man at a residential school in a different town during the same time period he claimed in the civil suit that Furlong had been abusing him. That was just the most significant problem with Morice’s credibility: he also has a long criminal record, mostly for offences of dishonesty,
Some people insist on a fair hearing and a trial based on evidence, but Ontario's Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur says this gums up the system. Under her proposal and potentially draconian slippery slope is anyone presumed innocent until proven guilty? Only a judge appointed for life can be presumed impartial or unbiased, and even then, there are problems of judicial bias that have been identified by the Ontario Court of Appeal.
“He makes bold decisions. He will not be affected by public sentiment. He plays no favourites in the courtroom,” Not all judges have the same qualities. “Judges are not in the happiness business,” he said. Appointed to the bench in 1990, Justice Vaillancourt will bring more than a quarter-century of experience to the task. He was a school teacher before spending 16 years as a criminal lawyer in Sault Ste. Marie.
In a 7-0 ruling, the court carved out an exemption for lawyers from the government’s 2000 anti-money laundering law. The government had wanted lawyers to be subject to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or Fintrac.
Qualified privilege is a defence against libel, meaning a statement was made in good faith according to a social, moral or legal duty, such as reporting an offence to police. It fails if the statement was made maliciously. Absolute privilege, on the other hand, which applies for example to statements made in Parliament, protects everything, even malicious statements.
Ontario Victims’ Justice Fund funds the Child and Youth Witness Support Program.A 2009 Department of Justice report estimated that 83 per cent of the costs of violent crime are borne by victims. That includes lost productivity and wages, costs of going to court and medical or psychological care. Proponents of the surcharge argue its mandatory nature helps make up for the shortfall in funding for victim services and that any hardship experienced by an offender who may not be able to pay pales in comparison to the hardship suffered by victims of their crimes.
Given the current state of the Ontario Court system, judge shopping may be key to winning, regardless of the nature of the dispute. For example, on a yellow slip of paper taped in the back of defence lawyer Karen Ann Reid’s day planner is a list. One side has the initials of Ottawa judges who don’t impose what’s known as the victim surcharge; on the other side, the ones who do. (also see related articles 'Why judges' politics matters' & 'Chummy with the judge').
When is a bank robbery not a bank robbery? That was the riddle faced by a Toronto judge. When someone walks into a bank and hands a teller a note demanding money, it is usually considered to be a robbery.
The Canadian justice system caters to only two extremes...the wealthy and the poor. What about those caught in the middle? The administration of justice is brought into disrepute where the financial playing field is tilted...in the civil context, litigants are often priced out of the courthouse. Justice, for that reason, can be out of reach for those of modest means.
Over the last 20 years, there has been a greater move toward civilian oversight of policing including the creation of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in Ontario. So why have these developments not had the desired effect?
In exercising our fundamental freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, we must determine the point at which robust criticism of a judicial decision mutates into contempt of court. Never forget that once judicial decisions are rendered, they are in the public domain, and they become grist for the mill of public scrutiny and comment.
'We run the danger of a public perception that this has all become a giant game of Snakes and Ladders that may be wonderful for the lawyers … You can't have the results float totally independent from what really happened, without the Charter becoming viewed as not the statement of basic principles we should all operate on, but a sort of the lawyers technical manifesto,' Judge Doherty said."
A slight increase in the number of 12-hour license suspensions handed out to drivers who have been drinking is partly the result of mounting frustration with the criminal court system when it comes to impaired drivers, says the head of the Ottawa police traffic unit.
Justice Douglas Rutherford ruled that the section of the act requiring authorities to prove terrorism offences are motivated "in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological objective or cause," violates Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Construction Labour Relations president Neil Tidsbury, whose group represents industrial, commercial and institutional construction employers, warned against reading too much into the case.
"It was all there under the camera lights. Technically, anybody could have written the report." The respected judge was speaking as an educated bystander who concluded the report will be obvious to anybody who followed nine months of public hearings in which Liberal insiders and their friends gave damning testimony about how the sponsorship program was mismanaged.
The Supreme Court of Canada has made decision-making in criminal trials so onerous and so abstruse many judges have trouble explaining the process. This case takes the cake as an egregious example of what can go wrong in our legal system and the extraordinary costs involved -- emotionally to victims' families and financially to taxpayers