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September 2017 Criminal Law Round-up

Summer is finally gone and it's back to school for news and cases in criminal law. 

News:

Bill C-45, Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts Cannabis, is winding its way through legislative committees and attracting some criticism along the way from defence lawyer Michael Spratt, who testified at committee. Meanwhile, Ontario has announced its plan to sell marijuana through retail outlets managed by the LCBO. 

The Ontario Human Rights Commission is calling for the provincial government to stop the practice of segregation in its jails, alleging that the government has breached its obligations with respect to the case of Christina Jahn in 2013.You can listen to the Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane speak about the lawsuit on CBC's Metro Morning.

The National Post ran an interesting story about the power of Google's algorithms to circumvent court ordered publication bans.  The newspaper found that despite the fact that media sources were not including names, a search could still link a person's identity, which, as articulated by Ottawa defence lawyer Anne London-Weinstein, is horrifying for victims and will require the government to look at how they can prevent this from happening.  

Finally, to close the loop on a story that surfaced just after the U.S. election, Justice Zabel, who wore a 'Make America Great Again' hat in court has been suspended for 30 days without pay.

Cases:

In R v. Picard, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned a trial judge's stay of proceedings in a case of murder.  The court found that the principles of the R v. Jordan case with respect to 'transitional cases' (those begun the Jordan decision came into effect) were improperly applied. Mr. Picard plans to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. You can read an overview of the case here.

The Ontario Court of Appeal also ordered a new trial in the case of R v. Grandine, in which Philip Grandine was convicted after trial of manslaughter for drugging his pregnant wife who drowned in their bathtub. The jury had asked a question during their deliberations, and the answer had opened the door to another theory of the Crown's case and possible route to convict him.

The RCMP was found guilty of a labour code violation in a case that stemmed from the 2014 shooting of 3 officers by Justin Bourque. The court found that the RCMP had failed to provide adequate use of force equipment, in particular carbine rifles

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