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October 2017 Criminal Law Round-up

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2017 | Uncategorized


Ontario’s minister of the Attorney General Yasir Naqvi released a new bail directive this month, calling it a new era for bail. The directive aims to move Crowns away from a ‘risk adverse’ mentality, shifting away from the routine use of sureties and encouraging the use of the ‘ladder principle’ which was emphasized by the Supreme Court in the case of R v. Antic (covered in June’s Criminal Law Round-up). The Minister hopes to ease the strain on jails and reduce overcrowding, while addressing issues of those with mental health issues and Indigenous populations. 

This month marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Ashley Smith in the Grand Valley Institution. While her death prompted calls for the use of solitary confinement, little has actually changed. As defence lawyer Breese Davies writes in her op-ed, an end to segregation would have been a fitting legacy for Ashley.

Our country was in mourning this month with the news of the death of Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie. This blog post from law professor Kent Roach explains what we can learn about criminal justice from the Tragically Hip, looking specifically at the songs 38 Years Old and Wheat Kings and their messages of criminal justice reform. 


The Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Tran v Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), which centred on the issue of whether conditional sentences count as jail sentences in the context of immigration law. The Court ruled ‘term of imprisonment’ under section 36(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, does not include conditional sentence (a period of imprisonment served in the community). As Alice Pan from The Court argues, the decision brings some much needed cohesion between criminal and immigration law. 

Justice Borenstein of the Ontario of Justice in Sudbury directed an acquittal for Pat Sorbara and Gerry Lougheed in Election Act charges. The court ruled that there was insufficient evidence that the two Liberals had bribed a candidate to withdraw from the race. The proceedings have been criticized as a waste of time and resources, as articulated by the Globe and Mail’s Adam Radwanski here.

The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld an acquittal of a London Ontario school teacher who had been charged with surreptitiously filming students’ breasts in the case of R v. Jarvis. The Court found that the recordings had been made for a sexual purpose, but that the students did not have the necessary expectation of privacy in the circumstances, given that the recordings were made during the normal course of the school day and were not shared. Defence lawyer Sean Robichaud provides a good overview of the case and the issue of the reasonable expectation of privacy in the context of voyeurism

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