Archive for August 2nd, 2016

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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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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