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Archive For Entries On Criminal Law

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

Introduction 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 […]

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

Introduction 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 […]

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 TheCourt.ca on R v Summers, 2014 SCC 26 [Summers], the […]

Safeguarding Online Anonymity: R v Spencer Revisited

Last month, TheCourt.ca 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 […]

Prison Transfers Must Be Fair, Supreme Court Rules: Mission Institution v Khela

Earlier this year, in late March, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) sent a resounding message to federal prison wardens across the country that inmates’ freedoms cannot be limited lightly. In Mission Institution v Khela, 2014 SCC 24, a unanimous ruling of eight judges, the SCC made it clear that if you decide to further […]

Ontario Court of Appeal Strikes Down Federal “Tough-On-Crime” Legislation: R v Safazadeh-Markhali

In R v Safarzadeh-Markhali, 2014 ONCA 627, the Court of Appeal for Ontario struck down the legislative scheme surrounding sentencing and the credits granted for pre-sentence custody.

A Case about Complete Denial of Access to Counsel: R v Taylor

In R v Taylor, 2014 SCC 50, Abella J. declared that section 10(b) Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been violated, which resulted in Jamie Kenneth Taylor’s “inability to exercise a meaningful and informed choice as to whether he should or should not consent to the taking of blood samples at the hospital” (at […]

A New Standard for “Mr. Big” Confessions: R v Hart  

R v Hart, 2014 SCC 52 [Hart], is about the admissibility of confessions elicited during “Mr. Big” operations, a relatively common sting tactic used by police across the country. The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) found that confessions given during such operations are often unreliable and introduced a stringent new test for their admissibility as […]