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Ottawa Criminal Defence Law Blog

On Diversity in the Legal Profession

Yesterday, at Convocation at the Law Society of Ontario, the newly elected benchers debated the controversial Statement of Principles (SOP), which requires lawyers to tell the Law Society in an annual report that they have written a statement that outlines their commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). It's a minimal requirement - you don't have to disclose the statement, but simply say that you have one. Still, it has raised a flurry of opposition and debate, with opponents likening it to compelled speech and even thought control.

An overview of R v. Barton

The Supreme Court released its highly anticipated decision in R v. Barton today. The case, which dealt with a myriad of issues arising from the murder trial of Bradley Barton, touches many areas of law, including use of prior sexual activity, honest but mistaken belief in communicated consent, accident and motive. The Court ultimately ordered a new trial on the count of manslaughter, given the errors, particularly with respect to the evidence of the complainant's sexual history, that has ripple effects that prejudiced the trial.  While there are many issues to discuss, this post will simply draw out a few of the key points of the decision. 

January 2019 Criminal Law Round-up

The sentencing hearing began this month for the case involving the fatal bus crash of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. The court has heard many victim impact statements from the families of the deceased, which has raised the question of what role victim impact statements should play in the court. Law professor Benjamin Perrin comments that victim impact statements can provide valuable evidence to judges, but should be used with caution. Lawyer Tom Engel, on the other hand, has noted on Twitter that many of the statements made in court are outside of the scope of what the Criminal Code permits.

Impaired driving update: Implications of Bill C-46

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a spike in road checks for  impaired drivers. This year, the landscape around drinking and driving has changed with the coming into force of new impaired driving laws on December 18, 2018. The new legislation, which received Royal Assent in June, makes significant changes for the law of evidence, possible defences and minimum sentences for impaired driving cases.

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