Archive for September 6th, 2017

The Supreme Court Comments on Bail

Enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the presumption of innocence and the right not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause. In a recent decision on bail called R. v. Antic, the Supreme Court commented on the importance of these aforementioned rights. In Antic, the Supreme Court voiced their displeasure with lower courts sidestepping the ladder approach to bail, which is codified in section 515(3) of the Criminal Code. The ladder approach begins with the default position that an accused should be released on an undertaking without conditions, and only when the Crown can show justifiable reasons does an accused move up the ladder. It moves up first with release on conditions without cash deposit, then with release on conditions with a surety, and finally, with release on conditions with cash deposit. Each rung must be deliberately weighed, and if any one rung feels like […]

READ MORE >

Do Mandatory Minimums Work for Sentencing?

Back in 2009, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government introduced legislation amending the Criminal Code, which laid out mandatory sentencing minimums for various offences. Since then, these mandatory minimums have received some harsh criticism and the Supreme Court has even struck down a few. The sentencing judge is placed in a unique position where they know a great deal about the circumstances of the offence and the particular characteristics of the offender. The sentencing judge has often heard a trial of the matter, they have heard first hand sentencing submissions from the Crown and defence, and they have observed the offender in person while in the courtroom. This unique position can be pushed to the side when the sentencing judge is forced to abide by mandatory minimums, and sometimes the sentencing judge is forced to levy a sentence that is higher than what they would have otherwise imposed. Sentencing is often very […]

READ MORE >

What is the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act?

SCAN is a piece of legislation passed by the Provincial government in 2007 with the stated purpose of empowering local residents to engage in monitoring their community and reporting activities which they think are adversely affecting their property. Homeowners or tenants are held accountable for allegedly harmful activities that regularly take place on or near their property. Because these matters are typically related to prostitution, organized crime, unlawful drug use, dealing, production, cultivation, and other related unlawful activities; there is at times overlap between those affected by SCAN and individuals facing criminal charges. Where this becomes concerning is that anonymous complaints against the tenant or owner can be made simply on a suspicion provided by a complainant who believes their neighbourhood is being adversely affected by the activities on or near the resident’s property. As long as the complainant states she believes the suspected activities are habitual and for a […]

READ MORE >