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Legal News

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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 […]

Wading into the Jian Ghomeshi Fiasco

This whole Jian Ghomeshi debacle has been a cultural and media firestorm. There are countless articles, commentaries, conversations and opinions swirling throughout Canada. There has certainly been a positive outcome, that being, that the issue of unreported violence against women is at the forefront of public discourse, and we are seeing that it is a […]

A Day in the Life of Duty Counsel

From time to time we act as duty counsel, representing newly arresested people in the Vancouver Jail. Read Michael’s account of a typical weekend as duty counsel in this Georgia Straight article.

Restorative Justice: An Alternative to Court

Restorative Justice (“RJ”), or what is also sometimes referred to as Transformative Justice, is a contrast to the traditional adversarial justice system. In the adversarial justice system an accused person is represented by a criminal defence lawyer, the public (or the state or the Crown) is represented by a government prosecutor known as Crown Counsel, […]

Smart Phones: Good for Suspects; Bad for Cops

In the news today, another example of what appears to be police brutality in British Columbia. A Terrace, BC RCMP officer punches an alleged young offender (under 18 years old) in the face while the young offender is on the ground, face down, in handcuffs and is being straddled by the officer. Whether the prevalence […]