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Ottawa Criminal Defence Law Blog

Full Disclosure: Setting the (fictional) record straight

Former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin published her first novel this spring, a legal thriller set in Vancouver. "Full Disclosure" is the story of a female criminal defence lawyer named Jilly Truitt who takes on a high profile case of first degree murder, despite warnings from her family and friends that she should let this case go. The novel follows the case of Richard Trussardi, who is accused of killing his wife, from his arrest through to the trial with many twists and turns along the way.

The Perils of Bill C-75 (Or: Why We Should Care About Criminal Justice Policy)

It has been almost a month since the Liberal government tabled its new criminal justice bill on March 29th. There was a flurry of activity on Twitter over that weekend as defence lawyers, including myself, decried the changes that Bill C-75 proposes. There have been a wide range of reactions to the bill, which seeks to reform a number of different areas of criminal justice. But the reactions are largely from those who work in the criminal justice system, and may not yet have permeated the public consciousness in a meaningful way.

February 2018 Criminal Law Round-up


Verdicts in the trials of Gerald Stanley and Raymond Cormier  in the deaths of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine lead to outrage for the loss of life of Indigenous people. Stanley's verdict had many people not only angry, but confused, given the discrete issues around the defence accidental discharge of a firearm. Michael Plaxton helpfully broke down the 'hangfire' evidence in the Gerald Stanley trial in his article for the Globe and Mail. Still, both cases sparked discussion about juries in Canada, and whether they are serving Indigenous people appropriately. This piece of investigative journalism from The Star revealed how the jury selection system leaves out many diverse Canadians from the pool of prospective jurors.and calls for the use of different resources, such as OHIP registration in Ontario, to put together juries. 

Policing Black Lives: A Guide for Lawyers

Robyn Maynard's book Policing Black Lives charts the history and implications of anti-Black racism in Canada, spanning slavery, education, immigration, policing, and criminal justice. The book is not specifically intended for participants in the criminal justice system: Maynard states in the introduction that her goal is to make anti-Blackness legible for activists, policymakers, students and concerned community members. However, the book provides important insight and background for those involved in the justice system, particularly for defence lawyers.

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