Archive for December 8th, 2016

The Zealous Advocate in Sexual Assault Cases

As part of Royal & Company’s continuing commitment to ensuring our lawyers are up to date on developments in the law and the changing nature of advocacy, members of the office frequently attend seminars and conferences on a variety of topics. Kathryn Quinlan recently attended “Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victim Cases” put on by the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers. This two-day conference focused on issues that arise particularly in cases of sexual assault and child sexual assault (or as it’s called in section 151 of the Criminal Code, sexual interference). Some of the topics reviewed included: challenging DNA evidence; cross-examining children; the effect of alcohol, blackouts, and sleep disorders on memory; and how to persuade juries of your point of view. Sexual assault trials can be some of the most difficult to defend, particularly in recent years with social and political attitudes surrounding sexual violence […]

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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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