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Ottawa Criminal Law Blog

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.

To have a preliminary inquiry or not, that is the question

As recently as a few months ago, the Attorney General for Ontario was in the news calling for the elimination of preliminary inquiries. The concern from the Attorney General was for court delays and this elimination, he claimed, would help speed up trials in criminal proceedings. Many individuals and organizations have spoken out against this suggestion and have argued the important role that preliminary inquiries have in the criminal justice system, including an article written by Ian Carter of Bayne Sellar Ertel Carter.

Unreasonable Delay for Young Offenders

The Jordan case is getting a lot of media attention. Charges are being stayed across Canada, including serious charges like murder. The Jordan presumptive ceiling for provincial court matters is 18 months. Before Jordan, courts assessed delay based on loose Morin guidelines and determined whether the presence or absence of prejudice caused by the delay (among other factors) meant that the delay was reasonable or unreasonable. Although the Morin guidelines applied to youth cases, prejudice was more significant to youths than adults so stays were ordered in cases with less delay than adult stay cases.

Getting a Pardon (Record Suspension)

Have you been convicted of a criminal offence, such as fraud, in the past and looking to put those days behind you? A criminal record can hinder one's ability to work, travel, volunteer and become a citizen of Canada. In order to prevent your past on having a negative effect on your future plans, it is important to seek a records suspension (commonly referred to as a pardon) as soon as you become eligible. A record suspension will remove all information about your conviction from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).

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