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January 2016 Archives

Criminal law round-up

In what I'm hoping will be a monthly feature, here is a round-up of some of the last month's news, cases and goings-on in criminal law in Ottawa and beyond. 

Let's talk about mental health and bail

Today is Bell's Let's Talk Day, designed to raise awareness about mental health. As my twitter feed was taken over by the hashtag, I thought about the difficulties that the criminal justice system has in dealing with issues of mental health. Still, there are many success stories, and one particular case came to mind that illustrates the importance of our mental health courts, but also the fundamental importance of bail. 

Can I get a witness?

For a lawyer, coming to court on a trial date is kind of like an athlete coming to the field on game day. Think of NBA players walking down a hallway, their earbuds in, focusing on the game ahead. While my pre-game rituals might also include driving to court in snowy conditions and stopping to refill windshield fluid in order to actually see the road, the mixed sense of preparation, calm and anticipation is the same. However, once I get to court, things often don't run smoothly and this focus can be interrupted by a number of last-minute issues. 

Making a (Youthful) Murderer: Brendan Dassey and the Youth Criminal Justice Act

First off, I am happy to announce that McElroy Law was the recipient of a 'Clawbie' Canadian Law Blog Award for Best New Blog. You can see the other recipients at Thanks to everyone who has read and provided support over the last few months. Happy New Year! 

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