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. 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 delay of 49.5 […]

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Disagreement in the Court of Appeal

There is a divide between the makers of the law in Alberta. Justices of the Alberta Court of Appeal decide how criminal laws will be interpreted and applied in Alberta, unless the specific interpretation or application has already been adjudicated by the Supreme Court of Canada. This means that matters which rarely appear before the Supreme Court, such as the application of sentencing principles, guideline or starting point sentences, applications for bail and procedural questions, are guided by the Alberta Court of Appeal. But what becomes of the law when the Justices of a Court of the Alberta Appeal disagree on these issues? Recently, a three member panel of the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned a decision from one of their fellow Court of Appeal Justices in R. v. Sidhu . When faced with an application for bail pending appeal, the original Justice hearing R. v. Sidhu determined that in […]

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