February Criminal Law Round-up
With delays in the justice system continuing, Ontario’s Attorney General called on the Federal Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould to limit the use of preliminary inquiries as a time-saving measure. This proposal has been met with opposition from defence lawyers, including Toronto defence lawyer Daniel Brown, in this op-ed to the Toronto Sun. I appeared on CBC’s Power and Politics to discuss the issue.
Conditions at Ontario’s jails continue to make the news. Ottawa lawyer Michael Spratt went public with documents showing that the provincial government receives a kick-back from collect calls made from jails. Meanwhile, the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre saw its third suicide in under a year. This article about Toronto’s South Detention Centre is also worth a read.
In other horrifying news, the mother of a 6 year old is launching a complaint after police hand-cuffed her six year old following an incident at the girl’s school.
Former Attorney General Michael Bryant spoke out about the devastating impacts of the Safe Streets Act on homeless people in Ontario.
The Supreme Court of Canada clarified the rules around expert evidence in cases of driving while impaired by drug in the case of R v. Bingeley. The court essentially allows an evidentiary short cut that allows trial judges to admit the drug expert’s evidence without having to have a hearing to determine its admissibility. Read a more in depth discussion of the case here.
The man who infamously beheaded a passenger on a Greyhound Bus in Manitoba was granted a discharge this month, meaning that he can now live in the community without court or medical supervision. Andre Picard reacted to the decision, explaining that to further punish Will Baker (who used to go by the name Vince Li) would be cruel, given his rehabilitation.