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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 […]

NYPD “Stop and Frisk” Powers: A Canadian Perspective

Clearly it was not Mayor Bill de Blasio that pulled the trigger that killed two of New York City policemen, but many of New York’s Finest and their supporters are reacting as though the mayor has blood on his hands. When officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were gunned down in cold blood on a […]

The Supreme Court of Canada’s latest word on Cell Phone Searches

Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Fearon solidified the law in Canada regarding police searching suspect’s cell phones, without a warrant, when they are arrested. In this article we will not be reviewing the law as set out in the majority judgment. It is indexed as 2014 SCC 77. The bulk of […]

Canada’s new Prostitution Laws: Ending the World’s Oldest Profession

December 6 is the day that Bill C-36, Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act comes into force. On that day, new Criminal Code sections aimed at combating prostitution in Canada come into effect. The new laws were passed in Parliament earlier this year. They were passed in response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision […]

Therapy Dogs: new participants in the courtroom

On December 2, 2014, a judge in an Alberta courtroom allowed a specially trained type of therapy dog, known as a trauma dog, to assist a young girl while she gave evidence at a sexual assault trial. This was a first in Canada. Later that week it is expected that her brother will take the […]

Ghomeshi: Proper Venue is Criminal Court

After a month of speculation, former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi appeared in a Toronto courtroom today, charged with four counts of Sexual Assault and one count of Overcoming Resistance by Choking. These charges are extremely serious, carrying a potential life sentence. His lawyer, Marie Henein, indicated that Mr. Ghomeshi will be pleading not guilty. He […]