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September 2019 Criminal Law Round-up

This September, 90 days after it received Royal Assent, a number of the amendments contained in Bill C-75 come into force. These new provisions will change procedures in the Criminal Code, ranging from preliminary inquiries, juries, intimate partner violence and the re-classification of offences. You can read my overview of some of the changes here. Many of the changes could cause delays, according to Criminal Lawyer’s Association president Michael Lacy.

The Toronto Police Service announced this month that it would implement a new policy whereby they will collect race-based data of the individuals that they interact with. This change is being applauded by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, as well as lawyers such as Anthony Morgan who comments that this is a welcome step in race relations with the TPS, so long as the data is collected in transparent and consistent manner.

And, in case you missed it, check out this interview on CTV Morning with criminal lawyer Marie Henein as she discusses many important issues, including here career, personal image and her love of rap music. 

Cases:

With the coming into force of much of Bill C-75, there was much confusion as to whether the provisions were to apply retrospectively or not. The issue has been litigated in a number of jurisdictions with varying results. In the Ontario Superior Court, in the case of R v. R.S., Justice Thomas found that the provisions should be applied retrospectively, given that they are procedural and do not affect a vested or substantial right. 

Similarly, the Superior Court in R v. Chouhan found that the courts should apply the restrictions on the availability of premeptory challenges in jury selection retrospectively. Defence lawyer Dirk Derstine comments that the case will spark further appeals on the issue of fairness in selecting juries

In R v. Charley, the Ontario Court of Appeal dealt with the issue of post-conviction delay, finding that the principles in Jordan apply. Whereas there is normally an 18 month presumptive ceiling for delay, there is a 5 month presumptive ceiling from the time of conviction to that of sentencing.

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