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Archive For Entries On Criminal Law

R v Kokopenace: Missed Opportunity for Action

Overrepresented in Jails, Underrepresented in Juries Since the 1970s, Grassy Narrows First Nation reserve has become synonymous with mercury poisoning and the associated health effects. By any measurement, the residents of the reserve have had a rough deal handed to them. In 2007, Grassy Narrows was also the site of a murder, the details of […]

Strategizing in the Shadow of Precedent: Another look at Henry v British Columbia

An earlier post provided a summary of Henry v British Columbia, 2015 SCC 24 [Henry]. Unanimously overturning a decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”), the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”), held that the plaintiff, who was wrongfully convicted and consequently spent twenty seven years in prison for crimes he did not commit, […]

Clearing the fog? St. Cloud and the Reinterpretation of Bail Procedure

The death of Bridgett Takyi, a 27-year-old mother, represents the worst nightmare of any Justice of the Peace. In Ontario, justices make critical decisions, such as whether an accused should be released from jail pending trial. While out on bail for charges including assault and uttering death threats against Ms. Takyi, Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, Ms. Takyi’s […]

R v Tatton: The Confounding Distinction between Specific and General Intent

The Supreme Court of Canada’s (“SCC”) recent decision in R v Tatton, 2015 SCC 33 [Tatton] takes place in the context of a larger and more protracted debate about the defence of intoxication. In what cases, if any, can a self-induced state of intoxication negate intent, and provide an accused with a full acquittal? Courts […]

R v Barabash: Resolving the Debate Surrounding the Private Use Exception

On May 22, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) in R v Barabash, 2015 SCC 29 [Barabash], unanimously concluded that a new trial was necessary since both the trial judge and majority at the Alberta Court of Appeal (“ABCA”) erred in law in their analyses of the role of exploitation in the “private use […]

Henry v British Columbia: Defending Rights, or the State?

The Sorry Tale of Mr. Henry Mr. Henry is an average person with an average life. Then one day, he is convicted of 10 sexual offences, declared a dangerous offender and sentenced to indefinite imprisonment. He spends the next 27 years in prison, writing dozens of appeals and requests, and, presumably, spending the rest of […]

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 […]