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July/August Criminal Law Round-up

Well, the end of summer is upon us. As kids go back to school and holidays come to a close, it's time to dive into some notable cases from the past two months:

In R v. Dudhi, the Ontario Court of Appeal dealt with the issue of racial profiling in the context of a Charter challenge of a drug search. The Court found that if an officer uses racial stereotypes to any degree in how they either identify a suspect or treat one, then there is no reasonable suspicion or reasonable grounds to arrest. In other words, the use of racial stereotypes will amount to racial profiling. Sara Little outlines how both the attitudinal and causation components play into the analysis for racial profiling in her blog 'Little Legal Summaries.'

The Supreme Court released the decision of R v. Stillman, which found that members of the military who are charged with offences under military law do not have a constitutional right to a jury trial. The case examined the meaning of s. 11(f) of the Charter and its application to the 'civilian offences' of military law. In his blog post, aptly named "Keeping it Complicated," law professor Leonid Sirota dives into the purposive approach of the Court in analyzing the scope of military law.

The Supreme Court also released the decision of R v. R.V., dealing with the issue of prior sexual activity in sexual assault cases. The case focused on whether the defence should have been permitted to cross-examine the complainant on her pregnancy, in order to suggest that he was not the one to impregnate her. The Court ultimately found that the trial judge should not have dismissed the s. 276 application, but that the outcome of the trial would not have been different given the opportunity to cross-examine on the sexual history. Tom Slade of Supreme Advocacy provides a good overview of the case on his Fantasy Court Blog (just scroll through the winners of last year's league).

In R v. Boone, the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered a new trial in the case of a man who failed to disclosure to his sexual partners that that he was HIV positive. The Court ultimately found that in order to be guilty of attempted murder, the Crown must prove that the accused intended to kill or believed that the victim's death was virtually certain.

Finally, in R v. Penunsi, the Supreme Court found that a judge can apply bail conditions to those who, although not charged with a criminal offence, are awaiting peace bond hearings.

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