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Ottawa Criminal Law Blog

Can Strict Bail Conditions Lower My Sentence?

You were charged with a criminal offence, such as sexual interference, and released on bail; however, it does not feel like liberty as the conditions on the bail recognizance are incredibly strict. Some examples of strict bail conditions are: house arrest except while in the presence of your surety; limitations on your ability to see family; a curfew; or a condition denying you the ability to go to school or work. These restrictions can be very difficult and limiting for accused persons to go about living their lives. Some would equate the conditions to being in custody; however, bail is not jail.

Consent as a Defence to Assault

At one point in time the law seemed clear that consent could not be a defence to an assault charge that aroes out of a fist fight where injury resulted.  The courts said there was little value in encouraging post bar brawls by allowing such a defence.  But over the last number of years that position has changed.  In some cases, even with more seroius offences, the defence has been succesful.

Disclosure: What does that even mean?

You are charged with a criminal offence, such as a domestic assault. You are released from the police station, given a date to appear in court and told that if you fail to appear in court, you could be subject to a bench warrant. But really what you are not told is about the next steps in the process and what to expect from this whole process. One of the most important steps after you have been released from custody is to receive the disclosure in your matter. Your disclosure is essentially the evidence gathered by the police to support the laying of the charges against you. It may involve written witness statements, police notes, photographs, video statements, video surveillance, or anything else that the police gathered during the course of their investigation.

Driving while distracted: could a donut mean your downfall?

You're on your morning commute to work and you just rolled through the local coffee shop drive-thru. With the coffee cup in its holder, a jelly donut in one hand and your other hand on the wheel, you motor along listening to your favourite morning radio talk show. The blaring siren and blue lights behind you are almost an aside. Almost.

After your first major communication of the day, you drive off with a freshly inked ticket. The donut is leaving a sour taste in your mouth, but not as sour as thinking about the hundreds of dollars that donut just cost you. But, maybe not.

Liberals introduce new bill with amendments for sexual assault offences

On June 6th, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-51 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act with the aim of amend, remove or repeal passages and provisions that have been ruled unconstitutional or that raise risks with regard to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It went further than this, however, and also introduced some new legislation for the prosecution of sexual assault offences in Canada.

Délai déraisonnable pour les jeunes contrevenants

L'arrêt Jordan reçoit beaucoup d'attention aux médias. À travers du Canada, les juges ordonnent des arrêts de procédures pour certaines accusations qui subissent des délais déraisonnables en vertu de l'article 11(b) de la Charte. Le nouveau cadre d'analyse établi par la Cour Suprême du Canada établit un plafond présumé de 18 mois en cour provinciale. Avant Jordan, la cour évaluait le délai en vertu du cadre d'analyse Morin et devait déterminer si la présence ou l'absence de préjudice causé par le délai (incluant autres facteurs) signifiait que le délai était raisonnable ou déraisonnable. Bien que le cadre d'analyse Morin s'appliquait aux jeunes contrevenants, le préjudice était plus important pour les jeunes que les adultes dont des arrêts de procédures pour les jeunes étaient ordonnés dans des cas ou que le délai était moins qu'un adulte.

Pay attention to your defence after a distracted driving offence

As a daily commuter, your vehicle may feel like a second home to you. You might do many of the same things in your car that others do at home. Listening to music, checking email, having a quick bite to eat or applying a bit of makeup: these are all tasks many drivers perform behind the wheel. 

Although it may not be noticeable, when you're not 100 percent focused on driving, the chances of being in an accident increase dramatically. Even a moment's inattention can lead to a collision. If you've ever found yourself driving distracted, or if you've ever had a close call, you should know what's legal and what's not while driving.

Diversion for Youth

Extrajudicial sanctions or EJS is a program for young persons charged with a criminal offence. This program is also sometimes referred to as Diversion. When a young person has never been charged with an offence, before, and when the allegation they are facing is not particularly serious (a theft or a mischief for example), your lawyer may be able to get the prosecutor to agree to participation in this program. This program provides a young person with the opportunity to avoid further involvement with the criminal justice system, and ultimately, the hope is that if your child participates successfully in the program the charges will be withdrawn or stayed. In other words, as a result of successful participation in EJS the charges will be thrown out and your child will not face any consequences criminally for their actions. (no youth record, no youth sentence etc). EJS is run through the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club. If your child is accepted into this program he or she will meet with a case worker from the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club and based on the particular circumstances at issue the caseworker will set up goals that your child needs to accomplish. Some examples are: volunteer work, counselling/programming, or a workshop. After the completion of these goals a report will be sent to the prosecutor confirming that your child has successfully completed the program. For more information visit the "Diversion" page at www.bgcottawa.org

Recent Supreme Court of Canada Case regarding Warrantless Searches

The Supreme Court recently ruled in the case of R v Paterson, 2017 SCC 15, that police cannot search your home without a warrant simply because it would be impractical to obtain one. Warrantless entries must be compelled by urgency, immediate police action to preserve evidence, or officer and/or public safety. The decision highlights the importance of the section 8 right against unreasonable search and seizure of the home.

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