So it turns out that a weekly ‘case-law round up’ was a little ambitious. Alas, I will instead post randomly at best. Enjoy!
In addition to a few comments regarding Bill C-75 (no, sadly this proposed legislation was not an April Fools joke), I have noted a few recent and important cases to be aware of:
Criminal Defence Lawyers across the country were blind-sided last week by the announcement of Bill C-75. In short, this proposed legislation would bring in a number of significant changes to the way in which criminal charges are prosecuted (and defended). While the Liberal Party and their Justice Minister are attempting to sell these amendments as “bold” reforms aimed at curbing court time and delay, the proposals arguably jeopardize a number of rights and procedural safeguards that are designed to protect Accused people from prejudice and, ultimately, wrongful convictions.
Suffice to say Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould’s announcement set Criminal Defence Twitter ablaze over the weekend as legal practitioners, scholars, and observers weighed in on the proposals. With Courts closed from Friday to Monday, Defence Lawyers had ample time to voice their concerns online.
I certainly share my colleagues concerns. In particular, the removal of preliminary inquiries, pre-emptive challenges during jury selection, and the introduction of police “evidence by affidavit” will obstruct Accused persons’ ability to fairly defend themselves. Moreover, there is good reason to think that these reforms will actually increase court-time and further clog the criminal justice system. I have included commentary from some of the Defence Bar’s best and brightest below: