Archive for September 2nd, 2016

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 […]

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11(b) and the right to be tried within a reasonable time

Criminal Courts across the country are becoming increasingly more crowded and delayed proceedings are an ongoing concern. Too few judges and too little court time, combined with increasingly complex prosecutions, have created an environment where it is not uncommon for an accused person to wait a year or more to have their day in court. Nevertheless, it is an accused’s right under Section 11(b) of the Charter to have their matter tried within a reasonable amount of time, and thankfully, the Supreme Court of Canada has recently provided some guidance on what constitutes reasonable in the case of R. v. Jordan, 2016 SCC 27. The Jordan decision was rendered on July 8, 2016. In that decision, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court disagreed with a lower ruling from the BC Court of Appeal, and ultimately quashed the accused’s convictions and entered a stay of proceedings. The majority analysed a […]

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R. v. Fearon, 2014 SCC 77

Technology is advancing at a breakneck speed and the Supreme Court of Canada is trying to keep up. Last December, the SCC made its latest technology related decision in R. v. Fearon as they tackled the relationship between the right to cell-phone privacy and police searches. In that case, an armed jewellery heist led to an arrest and the confiscation of the accused’s cell-phone. A quick search by the police revealed incrementing evidence, including text messages and photos. The majority decision of the SCC determined that warrantless cell-phone searches incidental to arrest, such as this, are not illegal searches because they can aid police officers in pinpointing public safety risks, in identifying accomplices, and in locating and preserving evidence. However, the majority went on to warn that safeguards are needed, and they laid out four conditions that must be met in order for a cell-phone search to be justified: The […]

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