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Ottawa Criminal Defence Law Blog

The Art of Sentencing: Why It's Time to Revisit Mandatory Minimums

There's a saying in criminal law that sentencing is an art, not a science. Sentencing judges carefully weigh the aggravating and mitigating sentences to craft a sentence that appropriately balances all the principles of sentencing to come up with a just and fair sentence. Except, of course, when they can't, because their hands are tied by a mandatory minimum sentence.

Jordan, Cody and Some Friendly Reminders on Delays in the Courts

It has now been almost a year since the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in R v. Jordan, overhauling the test for a right to a trial in a reasonable time. Last week, the Court revisited the issue of delay in the case of R. v. Cody and confirmed its ruling in Jordan, upholding the 18 and 30 month ceilings for a trial. (As a colleague succinctly put it, the Court essentially re-iterated: "We meant what we said.")

Digital Privacy and Cell Phone Searches

Cell phones have become an ever present reality of life, as we constantly carry around devices containing a signficant amounts of personal data. The information on these devices can often be used as part of police investigations. For example, we often see police using cell phone tower data to triangulate a person's location based on their phone. Text messages have become an increasingly common piece of evidence in trials, which leads to the question: can the police search my phone?

April 2017 Criminal Law Round-up

The federal government announced two pieces of legislation around the legalization of marijuana. The proposed Cannabis Bill would allow for the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, while downloading the sale and regulation of the drug to the provinces. The Liberals also introduced a bill about Impaired Driving, which deals not only with impairment but also of alcohol, and has raised questions as to whether the changes would survive a constitutional challenge.  (See also BC lawyer Sarah Leamon's thoughts on Power and Politics. The bills have raised some important discussions about the criminalization of racialized communities and the prospect of amnesty for past convictions.  

March Criminal Law Round-up

As March roared both in and out like a lion, the world of criminal law in Canada saw some important legislative changes and Supreme Court decisions, among other news-worthy cases.

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