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October 2016 Archives

Joint positions and the administration of justice

Many of the cases winding their way through the criminal justice system will end in guilty pleas. And of those pleas, many will be the subject of joint positions, meaning that both the Crown and the defence are asking for an agreed-upon sentence. The Supreme Court of Canada released a new decision last week, R v. Anthony-Cook, clarifying the role of judges in considering joint positions. Before this decision, there had been some disagreement between provinces as to the right test to apply, but the Supreme Court confirmed that a judge must apply a 'public interest test.' According to the test, a trial judge should not depart from a joint submission unless the proposed sentence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. This test is more stringent than other tests that have been used, such as whether a sentence is fit. 

The legality of sexting

The issue of sexting is becoming more frequent in news stories and in the courts. In Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, a case of 6 teenagers who are accused of sharing intimate images of girls in a Dropbox account is winding its way through the court system. The matter, which involves large volumes of disclosure, could be a pivotal case in terms of testing the limits of a relatively new section of the Criminal Code which prohibits people from sharing intimate images of a person without their consent. 

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