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May 2018 Criminal Law Round-up

News:

This month, the Senate voted to remove random alcohol screening from the new impaired driving bill. The proposed bill would allow police officers to stop motorists for the sole purpose of performing a breath test for the presence of alcohol, regardless of whether they had grounds to believe that the person is impaired. The motion to amend the bill was put forward by Conservative Senator Denise Batters, on the premise that that the provision was not compliant with Charter standards and would cause court delays

The federal government released its budget this month, and tucked away in the massive document is a provision that would allow for 'deferred prosecution agreements' in cases of corporate crime. The move would allow companies who self-report and come into compliance the opportunity to have the charges against them withdrawn, and has been criticized as being soft on white collor crime. In this concise twitter thread, Emilie Taman, a professor at the University of Ottawa and former federal prosecutor, breaks down her concerns with these agreements.

Senator Kim Pate tabled her bill to remove mandatory minimum sentences from the Criminal Code. Bill S-251 aims to restore discretion to judge in terms of imposing sentences and victim fine surcharges.

Cases

Bill S-251 comes weeks after yet another mandatory minimum sentence was deemed unconstitutional by the Ontario Court of Appeal, this time for the production of marijuana plants in R v. Vu. Vu's lawyer, Roots Ghadia, comments on the case and the importance of recognizing each matter on a case-by-case basis here.

The Supreme Court released its decision in R. v. Wong, where the accused had asked for his guilty plea to be set aside on the basis that he was not informed of the immigration consequences that would follow. The Court found that he had not shown that he would have acted differently had he known about the immigration consequences and therefore the plea was upheld. Wong's lawyer, Peter Edelmann, hosts the podcast 'Borderlines' and you can listen to an episode about extradition and the Charter here

In R v. Jurkus, the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed a stay of proceedings in a case where two jail guards were charged with failing to provide the necessities of life after an inmate was beaten by two cellmates. The 30 month delay was dissected by the Court, who attributed some of the delay to the defence, such that the delay was not unreasonable.

Pembroke dentist Christy Natsis' appeal at the Ontario Court of Appeal for her conviction for impaired driving causing death was denied this month. The Court found that the evidence of an OPP collision expert of measurements and calculations at the scene was properly admissible into evidence and that any errors in the report did not affect the ability of her lawyers to argue in her defence.

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