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February 2018 Criminal Law Round-up

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2018 | Monthly 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.

CBC’s The Sunday Edition had a thoughtful discussion with Frank Iacobcci, Annamaria Enenajor and Nader Hasan about potential reforms and the use of peremptory challenges. And some, like Charles Lugosi, argued there is no need to reform juries.

Cst Michael Theriault, who is accused of assaulting Black Toronto teen Dafonte Miller, appeared before the Toronto Police Misconduct Tribunal, facing a charge of disorderly conduct.


In R v. G.T.D., the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the question “Do you wish to say anything?” at the end of a police caution violates s. 10(b) of the Charter, which protects the right to silence. This article from the Lawyer’s Daily (which is incidentally much longer than the decision itself) breaks down the history of the case and the duty for police to hold off on questioning until a person has a reasonable opportunity to consult with counsel.

The Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in R v. Wabason, which dealt with the voluntariness of a statement given to police in a manslaughter case. The court found that inducements or threats do not need to be explicit in order to make a statement involuntary.

In R v. Tunney, Justice Di Luca of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice emphasized the importance of the Supreme Court’s bail decision of R v. Antic,criticizing the over-reliance on sureties in bail proceedings.

R v. Meads, Ontario Court of Appeal struck down s. 719(3.1) of the Criminal Code which restricts enhanced credit for pre-trial custody if a person is found to be violating conditions of their bail. Following the reasoning of the court in R v. Safarzadeh-Markhali, the court found that the provision is overbroad, violating s. 7 of the Charter. ,

A few more things:

I will be speaking this weekend at the Law Needs Feminism Because National Forum this upcoming Saturday March 3, and hope to see some familiar faces there!

If you haven’t checked out Sean Robichaud’s podcast ‘Of Counsel’ you really should. He has great interviews of fascinating lawyers in Canada, including many defence lawyers.

Also, a feel the need to send a sincere shout-out to Emond Publishing’s Prosecuting and Defending Sexual Offences, which has been beyond helpful in a trial I’ve done this week.

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