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Archive For Entries On Criminal Law

R v Nur: The Battle of Two Approaches to Challenging a Mandatory Minimum Sentence Under s. 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982

At the heart of the debate surrounding mandatory minimum sentences in Canada lies the insular but simple fact that Parliament, rather than the judiciary, dictates the application of such sentences to ensure that all offenders convicted of a specific crime receive at least a minimum term of imprisonment, regardless of the circumstances which surround the […]

How Long is too Long? R v Sanghera and s. 11(b) of the Charter

Pursuant to s. 11(b) of the Charter, “[a]ny person charged with an offence has the right…(b) to be tried within a reasonable time….” This case is concerned with whether or not Mr. Savdip Sanghera’s s. 11(b) Charter right was violated, and if so, whether or not such a delay was reasonable. On March 23, 2015, […]

In a Battle of the Doctrines, Division of Powers Trumps Cooperative Federalism: Quebec (AG) v Canada

The federal government has the right to destroy data collected for the highly contentious long-form gun registry, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) ruled late March. In a 5-4 decision, the majority in Quebec (AG) v Canada (AG), 2015 SCC 14, found that the federal government’s right to destroy data it collected is based on […]

A Prosecution “Littered With Errors”: Drugs and Guns in R v Shia

In R v Shia, 2015 ONCA 190 [Shia], the Court of Appeal for Ontario considered an appeal from a finding of guilt and an absolute discharge from a drug-related offence. Interestingly, the prosecution included a number of errors, with some attributable to every party involved, including the presiding justice. In a short and incisive decision, the Court […]

R v Belcourt : Privacy and Punishment When the Safety Is Off

The British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) decision in R v Belcourt, 2015 BCCA 126 [Belcourt], weighed the constitutional underpinnings of two different issues—privacy, and instructions on mens rea requirements—in a second-degree murder charge. The BCCA concluded that the privacy rights of Belcourt, the accused, were not infringed by the production of text messages under […]

Catching the Wolf of Bay Street: R v Shin

The Ontario Court of Appeal’s (“ONCA”) decision in R v Shin, 2015 ONCA 189, upheld a drug trafficking conviction that followed from an extensive police investigation in the Greater Toronto Area (“GTA”). Brian Shin was arrested after he entered a stash house where police were waiting for him. Although the arrest violated Shin’s Charter rights, […]

A Right Without a Remedy? No Redress for Wrongful Conviction in Henry v British Columbia

Henry v British Columbia (Attorney General), 2014 BCCA 15, was recently granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”). In 1983, Mr. Henry was wrongfully convicted of 17 sexual offences, for which he spent more than 27 years in jail. He was declared a dangerous offender and would have been incarcerated for […]

Foreign Sentences Served in Canada: Khadr v Edmonton Institution

Omar Khadr’s journey through this country’s various courts will continue in May when the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) holds a hearing for the appeal of Khadr v Edmonton Institution, 2014 ABCA 225. Unlike earlier legal proceedings involving Khadr, this appeal is relatively less complex. The issue essentially boils down to whether Khadr should have […]

R v Grant: The Tale of Two Tests

On March 5, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”), in R v Grant, 2015 SCC 9 [Grant], unanimously dismissed the Crown’s appeal, concluding that the trial judge had erred in law in treating the evidence relating to the alleged abduction of P.W. as known third party suspect evidence and in requiring Mark Edward Grant […]

R v Araya: Court Clarifies Appellate Review of Jury Instructions

Before juries begin deliberations, the presiding trial judge imparts careful instruction on the relevant points of law. The accuracy and sufficiency of these instructions, which are, of necessity, often long and complex, are frequent grounds of appeal. In R v Araya, 2015 SCC 11 [Araya, SCC], the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) ruled on the […]