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Archive For Entries On Criminal Law

Supreme Court Affirms Protection for Private Records: R v Quesnelle

This summer in R v Quesnelle, 2014 SCC 46, the Supreme Court of Canada held that police occurrence reports that relate to complainants or witnesses in sexual offence cases, and that are not directly related to charges an accused is facing, are subject to the Mills regime. As such, these records may only be released […]

R v Conception: The Last Word Between Courts and Hospitals for Unfit Accused

Part XX.1 of Canada’s Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46 [the Code], fundamentally altered the way a criminally accused person with a mental illness engages with the criminal justice system. This comprehensive new structure was a response to cases like R v Swain, 1991 1 SCR 933, in which Parliament recognized the need for a new statutory regime sensitive to the […]

Assessing Mens Rea in Cases of Child Abandonment: R v ADH

In R v ADH, [2013] 2 SCR 269, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) articulated its position on the requisite fault element for the offence of child abandonment. While the SCC unanimously held that the accused in the case should be acquitted, it was split (5:2) on whether mens rea should be assessed subjectively or objectively. […]

R v Sipos: When to Exercise Curative Powers

In R v Sipos, 2014 SCC 47 [Sipos, SCC], the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) unanimously concluded that the new evidence presented by James Peter Sipos to the Ontario Court of Appeal (ONCA) did not place the appeal “in that exceptional category in which the evidence is sufficiently compelling that it demands appellate intervention” (Sipos, […]

Threats of Violence, Personal Injury Offences, and Dangerous Offender Applications: R v Steele

In R v Steele, 2014 SCC 61 [Steele SCC], the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) grappled with the issue of whether the mere threat of violence is enough to satisfy the legal criteria of a Serious Personal Injury Offence (“SPIO”), which is a pre-condition for the Crown to pursue a dangerous offender application. One of […]

Carter v Canada: Highlights from the Supreme Court of Canada Hearing

Early on a rainy morning, I arrived to the Supreme Court of Canada and was lucky enough to be able to watch the Carter v Canada (Attorney General) [Carter] appeal. In this case, several plaintiffs challenged the Criminal Code provisions prohibiting physician assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia under sections 7 and 15 of the Charter. […]

Aboriginal Status, Mandatory Minimums, and Prosecutorial Discretion: R v Anderson

Back in June, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) dealt with the issue of whether Crown prosecutors are constitutionally required to consider the Aboriginal status of accused persons when deciding to pursue a mandatory minimum sentence in R v Anderson, 2014 SCC 41. The respondent, Frederick Anderson, was charged with impaired driving pursuant to section […]

New Test for When an Appellate Court Can Raise a New Issue: R v Mian

In R v Mian, 2014 SCC 54 [Mian, SCC], the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) attempted to strike a balance between two competing roles for appellate courts – of neutral arbiter and of justice-doer. In the process, the SCC set a new precedent for determining when an appellate court can raise a novel legal issue.

The Supreme Court Addresses the Truth in Sentencing Act and the Retrospective Application of Legislation: R v Clarke

R v Clarke, 2014 SCC 28, is part of the trilogy of cases recently released by the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) addressing the issue of the Conservative government’s tough-on-crime policy expressed in the Truth in Sentencing Act, SC 2009, c 29 (the “Act”). As discussed in previous commentary from on R v Summers, 2014 SCC 26 [Summers], the […]

Safeguarding Online Anonymity: R v Spencer Revisited

Last month, senior contributing editor Jordan Casey analyzed R v Spencer, 2014 SCC 43, a case that clarifies the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) position on what constitutes a reasonable expectation of privacy in the digital age. This post further explores one of the themes touched on by Casey—the nature and significance of the […]