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New Federal Court Ruling on Medicinal Marijuana Changes Little for Now, Much in the Coming Months

On February 24, 2016 a Federal Court judge in Vancouver struck down the federal government’s regulations stopping licensed personal growers of medical marijuana from growing their medicine, saying they violate the patient’s Charter rights. Before the federal government brought in the new scheme, which mandated that medical marijuana only be grown by large government-regulated marijuana […]

Our Media Comments on the Jian Ghomeshi Trial…

The Rise and Fall of the “Ghomeshi Effect” BY DENISE RYAN AND MATTHEW ROBINSON, VANCOUVER SUN FEBRUARY 13, 2016 For just a moment it looked like change was in the air. In 2014, when former broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi first fell so spectacularly from grace — a sudden and very public dismissal from CBC, and a stunning […]

Understanding Bail Hearings

Often, the first contact we have with a new client is a call from that client, or his or her relative or friend, stating that the person is in police custody, having been arrested and charged with an  offence. Two issues are certain to arise. First, advising the client that they have the right to […]

Holiday Stress and Intoxicants can lead to Charges

The Christmas/New Years Season should be a time of celebration. Unfortunately, pressures and expectations from family and friends can lead to stress which, if not handled effectively, can lead to poor decision making. The addition of alcohol and other intoxicating substances can sometimes lead to risk taking and sometimes violent acts. Certainly, during the holiday […]

Legal Recreational Pot? Addressing the details….

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government won a majority in the recent federal election. Part of their platform that many Canadians paid particular attention to was their promise to legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana. I walked by a bong, pipe and marijuana accessory store yesterday. They had a placard out on the sidewalk with large chalk […]

Peace Bonds: Should Information be Accessible on the CSO Website?

As many people are aware, British Columbia court records are available for free public viewing on the Court Services Online (CSO) website: https://justice.gov.bc.ca/cso/esearch/criminal/partySearch.do Surprising to some, the CSO website contains data entries for all matters before the courts: not just criminal convictions, but also outstanding charges for which accused persons, who are presumed innocent, have not […]

The New Canadian Bill of Victim’s Rights

Today, the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights came into force. The Bill itself can be viewed at: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-23.7/page-1.html The Act enacting the Bill, which also outlines the associated changes to the Criminal Code, can be viewed at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&DocId=7935412&File=4&Col=1 In this blog post I’ll be taking a look at some of the provisions of this new […]

Cell Phone Searches

Our society has changed fundamentally ever since we collectively embraced the smartphone. The amount of information that we are able to store on these devices is limitless. As Justice Fish stated in the 2010 Supreme Court of Canada case of Morelli, “It is difficult to imagine a search more intrusive, extensive, or invasive of one’s […]

Some Psychological Explanations for Why People Shoplift

Quite frequently people end up in our offices charged with shoplifting, or what is known in Canada as the offence of “Theft Under $5000” under the Criminal Code. Almost without fail, these people have never been in trouble with the criminal justice system before. They have jobs, if not careers. They have families. They often […]

Supreme Court of Canada to hear Constitutional Challenge to BC’s Impaired Driving Law

A tentative hearing date of May 19, 2015 has been set for the Supreme Court of Canada to hear the case of Goodwin et al. vs. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles). This high profile case will decide whether the BC Supreme Court and the BC Court of Appeal got it right when they ruled […]

“Sentence for Life” – More Politics of Fear from Harper

The Harper Government’s latest plan to “get tough on crime” will be introduced to Parliament next week. What with an election brewing, the Tories have come up with another down home, folksy angle on appearing to be the only federal party prepared to save Canada from “the most heinous offenders”. The new legislation proposes that […]

Supreme Court of Canada Strikes Down Physician Assisted Suicide Law

Recently the Supreme Court of Canada released its long awaited, much debated and surely controversial judgement on physician assisted suicide (Carter v. Attorney General of Canada, 2015 SCC 5 (“Carter”). In the decision, a unanimous Court overruled their 1993 decision in Rodriguez v. British Columbia (Attorney General) ([1993] 3 S.C.R. 519) and ruled that the […]