Prime Time Crime

Courts & Justice Headlines

Correct Corrections Canada

Wrongfully convicted


Global fall in basic justice

Fundamental human rights are reported to have diminished in almost two-thirds of the 113 countries surveyed for the 2018 Rule of Law Index.  The 2018 index, published by the World Justice Project (WJP), gathers data from more than 110,000 households and 3,000 experts to compare their experiences of legal systems worldwide, by calculating weighted scores across 8 separate categories.  (Guardian UK)   REPORT:   WJP Rule of Law index 2017-2018    Canada #9   .pdf 


Military judge charged

OTTAWA -  Col Mario Dutil, Canada's highest-ranking military judge has been charged in an alleged fraud involving false documents and an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.   (CBC)   


Auditors liable but sets conditions

OTTAWA - The SCC says accounting firm Deloitte LLP is liable for negligent work as the auditor of defunct theatre company Livent Inc, but has rejected part of Deloitte's liability and reduced its required payments.  The complex ruling does not open a door to a wide array of future lawsuits by investors, but establishes conditions that must be met for an auditor to be held responsible.  (Globe & Mail)   JUDGMENT:   2017 SCC 63 


Text messages private

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court says Canadians can expect the text messages they send to remain private - at least in some instances - even after the messages reach their destination.  (CP)  JUDGMENT:   2017 SCC 60   2017 SCC 59 


SCC overturns ruling

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has overturned an appeal court decision that rolled back years of planning for a huge swath of wilderness lands in Yukon.   (CP)   JUDGMENT:   2017 SCC 58   SCC ruling protects wilderness  


Lawsuit hits a red light

OTTAWA - A class-action suit that alleges oil companies and fuel retailers in Quebec were engaged in fixing the price of gasoline hit a pothole when Canada's highest court blocked it from accessing evidence from a related criminal investigation.   (CP)  JUDGMENT:   2017 SCC 46 


Ruling overturned

VANCOUVER - The BC Court of Appeal has also dismissed a family court decision that found the father had sexually abused his children, ruling that the judge largely relied on evidence from an expert witness who misrepresented her credentials, and ordered the man a new trial.  (CP)   JUDGMENT:   2017 BCCA 308   Accused father speaks 


Judge suspended for 30 days

HAMIILTON - Judge Bernd Zabel appeared before a disciplinary hearing last month, and said he did not support the American president, but was simply trying to make people laugh when he wore the baseball cap with the phrase Trump used during his campaign. (CBC)    MORE:   Judicial council didn't find it funny    Panel didn't overreact


Class action

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that a clause in Facebook's terms of use is 'unenforceable' in this country, clearing the way for a Vancouver woman to sue the social media giant for what she claims was a breach of her privacy.  The estimated size of the class is 1.8M people.   (CTV)  COMMENT:   Click may no longer mean you agree with everything   


Canada a threat

SAN FRANCISCO - A California judge is putting a halt to a Canadian court order for internet giant Google to delist some of its search results worldwide.  It says Canada's top court overstepped its bounds and the right to free speech online. Judge Edward J Davila wrote in his ruling that the Canadian court order to force companies like Google to remove links to third-party materials 'threatens free speech on the global internet.'  (CP)   MORE:   Google v Equustek   SCC internet ruling   2017 SCC 34   Internet takedown order   

SCC rules on land claim

OTTAWA - In a major victory for Indigenous peoples, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that a band in BC can claim financial compensation for the theft of its lands during gold-rush times in 1860.   (Globe & Mail)  JUDGMENT:   2018 SCC 4 


Court upholds dangerous offenders

OTTAWA - The SCC has upheld a dangerous offender law passed by the former Conservative government.  In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court said the law passes constitutional muster because it maintains judges' discretion over whether an individual is declared a dangerous offender.  (Globe & Mail)  JUDGMENT:   2017 SCC 64 


No longer legal

OTTAWA - Bill C-64 would make it illegal to abandon boats in Canada, while empowering the government to go after the owners of the 600 derelict vessels already polluting the country's waterways.   (CP) 


Court outcomes

OTTAWA - In Canada, sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes to police, and of those incidents which are reported, a low number make their way through the criminal justice system.  (Stats Can)   MORE:   Sex assault study   Falls through the cracks


AB's justice system 

EDMONTON - The case of the Indigenous, homeless 27-year-old in Edmonton, who was shot dead in an unrelated incident before seeing justice done, is the latest to raise questions about how judges conduct sexual-assault trials in Canada, and particularly in Alberta.  (Globe & Mail)   MORE:   Prosecutor make the victim nameless   Victim jailed 


Crown attorney charged

NORWAY HOUSE - Elizabeth Laite - who also goes by Elizabeth Pats - was charged, after reporting to police she was attacked in April 2016. The 53-year-old is a Crown attorney with Manitoba Justice in Prosecution Services.   (CBC)


Wrongly denied bail

OTTAWA - Dennis Oland was wrongly denied bail pending an appeal of his second-degree murder conviction, the Supreme Court of Canada says in a judgment that clarifies the grounds for granting release to people who challenge a finding of guilt.  (CP) JUDGMENT:  2017 SCC 17  


Case thrown out

WINNIPEG - In Oct 2006, the girl went to police about the assaults, which she said started in March 1996, when she was 6 years old, and continued until March 2003, when she was 12.  The man was only notified of the warrant after RCMP found it on the database on March 10, 2015.   (CBC) 



TORONTO - When Ontario Court Justice Marvin Zuker sentenced Mustafa Ururyar for the sexual assault of fellow York University student Mandi Gray last year, he issued a never-before seen restitution order.   Ururyar was to pay $8,000 to cover Gray's legal fees for hiring her own lawyer to advise and assist her before and during the trial.  In an affidavit filed with the court, the CLA argues that such an order is unfair given that accused persons who are acquitted cannot have the Crown reimburse their legal fees.   (Toronto Star)   PREVIOUS:   Judge rants at man he convicted


Attacks on due process

Once you deprive accused individuals of the presumption of innocence, of fair notice of the claims made against them and of the right to present evidence in their own defence, then every one of us becomes vulnerable to mob justice.   (CBC) 


Woman can't sue regulator

OTTAWA - The SCC says an Alberta woman cannot sue the province's energy regulator as part of her claim that hydraulic fracturing so badly contaminated her well that the water can be set on fire.  (CP)  JUDGMENT:   2017 SCC 1   Critic doesn't have charter right to sue 


Judges can ban

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada says judges can ban convicted sexual predators from using the Internet.   (CP)   JUDGMENT:   2016 SCC 31      


Steps to take

Have you ever wondered what steps are involved when you initiate a lawsuit?   (Huffington Post)  


SCC affirms decision

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has re-affirmed its groundbreaking decision on what constitutes an unreasonable time to await trial.   (CTV) 

2017 SCC 31 

2017 SCC 26

2016 SCC 27

2016 SCC 28

SCC throws out drug case  

Ensure timely trials     

Another accused being released

Another Jordan stay

Charges stayed 

Jail terms canceled

Murder charge stayed

Judge stays sex assault case 

Ordered deported

Crown appeals stay ruling

Wants to be deported

To remain in CBSA custody

Accused killers go free

Murder case to be thrown out

Case stayed

Senate report

Court delays final report  .pdf

Senate committee's plan 

Accused must stand trial 

Judges urged to speak out

Screening charges

Pre-charge screening    

Reforms an option

Unreasonable delay 

Justice ministers craft plan

Meeting of justice ministers to deal with fallout  

Protocol for prosecutors

Prosecution service practice protocol   .pdf

Criminal courts scramble  

New ideas needed to revamp court system  

New rules

Time limit jolt

Lawyers take a hit

More isn't the solution

Stop the Presses  

Charging criminals should be easier  

Bummer for BC justice system  

Justice lottery winners  

'Culture of delay'


Does not violate freedom of religion

OTTAWA - Approval of a ski resort in a region held sacred by Indigenous people does not violate their constitutional right to freedom of religion, the SCC ruled Thursday.  (CP)

JUDGMENT:   2017 SCC 54

SCC paves way for development

2017 SCC 041

2017 SCC 040

SCC rulings


Rulings on indigenous rights

NEB can fulfill its duty

Chippewas must pay Enbridge's legal fees


Top court blocks appeal

OTTAWA - Hockey is serious business in Canada, to the point that it took the nation's top court to decide a dispute over imported goalie gloves.  The Supreme Court upheld a trade tribunal ruling supporting the border.  (Bloomberg)   JUDGMENT:   2016 SCC 38

Court strikes down suspension

EDMONTON - AB's highest court has struck down a provincial law that allows police to suspend the driver's licences of suspected impaired drivers.   (PostMedia)   COMMENT:   Blow for liberty    Don't sacrifice rights   


Outdated laws scraped 

OTTAWA - The Liberals tabled a wide-ranging justice bill that, along with updating sexual assault laws, also cleans up the Criminal Code to scrub laws that are obsolete, redundant, or already ruled as unconstitutional.  (National Post)   MORE:   Bill C-51    Zombie laws 

Judge should not have deviated

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada handed down a lighter sentence to a BC man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter, ruling the original trial judge was wrong to deviate from a joint sentencing submission from the Crown and defence.  (CBC)  JUDGMENT:   2016 SCC 43


Criticizing police

ST JOHN'S - Andrew Abbass was detained and taken to the psychiatric unit at Western Memorial Hospital in Corner Brook, NL, on April 7, 2015.  In its ruling, the appeal court said the first psychiatric assessment of Abbass took 19 minutes before a doctor certified a certificate of involuntary admission.  (CP)   JUDGMENT:   2017 NLCA 24   

 NCR, again

OTTAWA - A case involving a 32-year-old Ottawa man with treatment-resistant schizophrenia who was found not criminally responsible for a brutal hammer attack is raising questions about the law and the mental health system.  The ruling marked the 4th time Jeff Weber has been declared NCR.   (CBC)  PREVIOUS:   NCR on trial


No fault insurance can't be breached

OTTAWA - 2 people who wanted to sue medical personnel and police officers who they say aggravated their injuries after car accidents have been turned away by the Supreme Court of Canada.  (PostMedia)  JUDGMENT:   2017 SCC 18 

Over the edge

PHOENIX - The Arizona Supreme Court issued a stunning and horrifying decision (.pdf), interpreting a state law to criminalize any contact between an adult and a child's genitals. According to the court, the law's sweep encompasses wholly innocent conduct, such as changing a diaper or bathing a baby.  (Slate) 


Still suing

TORONTO - Althea Reyes, 50, is one of a small number of people deemed vexatious litigants who repeatedly file lawsuits and court motions.  But that hasn't stopped her.  (Toronto Star)   

Workers protection

OTTAWA - Workers cannot be fired without a justification in the non-unionized federally regulated sector.   (Globe & Mail)   JUDGMENT:   2016 SCC 29 


Judge shield

EDMONTON - No one asked Court of Queen's Bench Justice Brian Burrows to shield the accused's name.  Court record shows that Kenneth Blake Rode, 53, was the man convicted on one count of internet luring of a person under age 16.   (CBC) 

Law struck down

HALIFAX - In his decision Justice Glen McDougall said the law, inspired by the death of Rehtaeh Parsons, was too broadly written and violates Charter rights to freedom of expression and liberty. (CTV)   JUDGMENT:   2015 NSSC 340   .pdf   Judge strikes down cyberbullying law


Tax lawyer guilty

TORONTO - Self-styled tax fighter Philippe DioGuardi has been given a 6-week suspension, a $5,000 fine and an order to pay $75,000 in legal costs after being found guilty of professional misconduct by the Law Society of Upper Canada.  (Toronto Star) 

Government too restrictive

OTTAWA - The SCC has told the Canadian government it has misread the 'humanitarian and compassionate' grounds for letting failed refugee claimants stay, applying too restrictive a definition, particularly where children are involved.    (Globe & Mail)     JUDGMENT:   2015 SCC 61


Workplace cancer

OTTAWA - The SCC has ruled in favour of 3 BC medical workers who argued they developed breast cancer as a result of their jobs.  (CP)   JUDGMENT:   2016 SCC 25     

Legal bill dispute system

TORONTO - Anyone who gets a legal bill from a lawyer can apply for a bill 'assessment' at the designated office.  The earliest preliminary hearing date in April 2016 is April 2018.  (Toronto Star) 


SCC upholds military justice system

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the constitutionality of the military justice system.  The court has dismissed four appeals that argued sections of the National Defence Act were broader than necessary and therefore violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  (CP)   JUDGMENT:   2015 SCC 55 

Trial to continue

MONTREAL - Throwing out serious criminal charges because of abusive prosecution tactics should happen only in rare, shocking cases, the Supreme Court said in ordering a new trial for two Quebec men accused of 22 guns, drugs and organized-crime offences.   (Globe & Mail)   JUDGMENT:   2014 SCC 16    


Traumatized juror settles

TORONTO - The Ministry of the Attorney General has reached a settlement with a juror diagnosed with a form of trauma after the murder trial for 8-year-old Tori Stafford.  (CBC) 

Juror seeks compensation

Juror seeks PTSD compensation

ON vows action on jurors with PTSD

Ex-juror diagnosed with PTSD


Police violated rights

TORONTO - In a 3-0 decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal quashed multiple convictions against Frank Strauss for which he had been sentenced to 11 years in jail. The court said the justice system's reputation needs to be protected from what it described as blatantly illegal police behaviour.  (Globe & Mail)

2017 ONCA 0628 

2014 SCC 52

Police have right to swab

2016 SCC 24 

2014 SCC 58

Mr Big conviction upheld

Mr Big sting upheld  

Rules on Mr Big confessions

Mr Big explained

Mountie upset

He made judicial history

Mr Big went bad     


Citizenship ruling

TORONTO - Stripping new Canadians of their citizenship without giving them a proper chance to explain themselves is a violation of their rights, a Federal Court judge declared.  (CP) 

Retroactive change violates charter 

Sentencing reforms unconstitutional

2016 SCC 14

2016 SCC 13

Laws struck down

Blanket policy 'illegal'

SCC strikes down laws 

2 more laws struck down

2016 BCCA 0177    

Judge strikes down sentence

Court strikes down safe country list

Safe country list for refugees

Dysfunctional crime law

2015 BCSC 0901 

Bail ruling

2015 SCC 27 

Mandatory minimum struck down

2015 SCC 15

2014 SCC 26

2014 SCC 27

2014 SCC 28 

Sentences unconstitutional

2013 ONCA 0678

2013 ONCA 0679

2013 ONCA 0677

2013 ONCA 0682

2013 ONCA 0681

2013 ONCA 0680

Law is unconstitutional

Treating each individual, as an individual

Crime section struck down 

Blows to mandatory-sentencing rules 

SCC rules on time served

SCC quashes tougher sentencing rules    

Juries to have a role



Backdoor registry

OTTAWA - It's impossible to become a criminal without breaking the law.  So it has always been laughable that progressives imagine criminals who are prepared to break much more serious laws against robbery, assault, drug trafficking and even murder could be persuaded by the passing of a bill to tell Ottawa and the police how many guns they have and where.  (Sun Media)

Data registry handed over

Long-gun registry ruling

2015 SCC 14

Quebec has no right to registry data

Feds can destroy gun registry data

Quebec will create its own 


Conviction upheld

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the manslaughter conviction of an Ontario aboriginal man should not be overturned because of a lack of aboriginal jurors.     (CP)  

2015 SCC 28

SCC hands harsher sentence to aboriginal

How many is enough

Aboriginals can sue

2015 BCCA 154

Court clarifies rules

2014 SCC 41

Cannot force chemo

Parents against the state  


Next chief justice

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Quebec-born Justice Richard Wagner to be the next chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.   (CP)

New chief justice    

Richard Wagner

SCC appointment

Sheilah Martin

New Supreme Court judge 

New SCC selection process

SCC appointment

Harper's SCC pick

SCC appointment

Fresh Quebec vacancy

Supreme Court of Canada

Chief justice retiring

Beverley McLachlin

Retiring justice was blindsided by Harper's attack

Harper's SCC appointment

Judge named to SCC

Power of trial judges

Secret short list  

Harper weighs in

Bar association weighs in

Chief Justice weighs in

PMO snubs request for clarity

Appointment denied 

Marc Nadon

SCC blocks appointment

SCC defends itself

SCC having legal issues


Police don't need warrants

OTTAWA - Police do not need a search warrant before looking at the contents of a suspect's cellphone as part of an arrest, as long as they meet certain conditions, including taking notes on how they searched and what they found, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled.  (Globe & Mail)

2014 SCC 77

Warrantless cellphone searches ok

BC: Searches unconstitutional

2014 BCCA 0231

US cell phone searches

Riley v. California

Police need warrants 

Legal aid probe

TORONTO - The attorney general has ordered a third-party review of Legal Aid Ontario, after the agency announced that it was cutting back on services due to a $26M deficit.  News of the external review was applauded by critics who have described Legal Aid as a bloated bureaucracy that mishandled the hundreds of millions of dollars it receives from the provincial government.   (Toronto Star) 

Slow, expensive and inefficient

Macdonald-Laurier Institute

Report card on the criminal justice system    .pdf 

2014 SCC 59  

Middle-class injustice

Options if you can't afford a lawyer

Poor pay more

Legal aid toughens rules

BC lawyers to withhold legal aid

Compensation due

Ontario to better monitor trial costs

Lawyer's spin

Good Samaritan law

Shutting down search & rescue

Price of free speech online $20K


Court fees


Conviction restored

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has restored the conviction of an Alberta man for possession of child pornography in a case about the burden of proof for circumstantial evidence.    (CBC)   JUDGMENT:   2016 SCC 33

Not racial discrimination

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Bombardier Inc did not discriminate against a Canadian pilot on the basis of his race.  (CBC)   JUDGMENT:   2015 SCC 39   SCC dismisses case involving US    


Massive legal bill 

GODERICH - Court documents show the companies - K2 Wind, Armow, and St Columban - are seeking $340,000 in costs from the Drennans, Ryans, Dixons and Kroeplins, who lost their bid to scuttle 3 wind-farm projects. (CP)

 Capital Power Corporation


 Riverstone Holdings



VICE must give RCMP info

TORONTO - VICE, a Canadian news outlet must give the RCMP background materials used for stories on a suspected terrorist a judge has ruled.   (CP)   MORE:   Court rules media must hand over data    Judge orders journalist to hand over digital messages   VICE vs RCMP 

Extradition ruling

OTTAWA - Dissenting judges have accused the majority of 'Kafkaesque' justice after the court ordered a mother extradited to the US to face child-abduction charges even though the children had run to her from their violent father.  (Globe & Mail)   JUDGMENT:   2015 SCC 62   Woman on hunger strike 


Round won by Hulk

ST PETERSBURG - A Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan $115M with the possibility of more after finding the Gawker website violated his privacy by publishing a sex tape of the celebrity wrestler.  Gawker publisher Nick Denton said the website would appeal the verdict.  (Reuters)         

Judiciary scandal

ACCRA - A total of 34 judges and magistrates have been accused after a 2-year investigation by Anas Aremeyaw Anas.  A total of 180 court officials are facing dismissal procedures.  (BBC)   MORE:   Anas' website   Video must be aired   Judiciary of Ghana


Judge's right

OTTAWA - The need to deter Canadians from driving while drunk means judges do not have to be lenient when sentencing young people or those with no criminal record.  (Globe & Mail) 

2015 SCC 64

SCC upholds stiff sentence

2015 SCC 65

SCC wouldn't hear appeal 


Not obliged to translate laws

OTTAWA - Alberta has no constitutional obligation to translate its laws into French, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled.  (Globe & Mail)  JUDGMENT:   2015 SCC 56    

Failure of courts

TORONTO - A decade-long refusal to share information between family courts and criminal courts is putting domestic violence victims at risk, with deadly consequences.  (Toronto Star)    


Provinces can crack down

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the right of provinces to pass tough drinking and drinking laws.   (Globe & Mail)   JUDGMENT:   2015 SCC 46   Drunk driving laws in BC not entirely upheld by SCC  

SCC orders new trial

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered a new trial in the case of two Edmonton men who made child pornography after videotaping two 14-year-old girls performing sex acts. (CP)  JUDGMENT:   2015 SCC 29   New trial


Right to strike

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down as unconstitutional a SK law that prevents public sector employees from striking.  The ruling will affect public service unions in provinces across the country.   (CP) JUDGMENT:   2015 SCC 4    SCC strikes down law  

Drunkenness is not a defence

OTTAWA - The SCC has ruled that accused people cannot claim drunkenness as a defence to crimes such as arson, assault and other offences typically associated with drinking, unless they are drunk to the point of automatism.  (Globe & Mail)   JUDGMENT:   2015 SCC 33 


SCC rules against

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that elected officials do not have the right to recite prayers at municipal council meetings.  (CBC)   JUDGMENT:   2015 SCC 16   Prayers are unacceptable     Quebec infringed on religious freedom   2015 SCC 12  

Focus on another badly worded law

TORONTO - In offering advice, anyone could be committing a crime under a controversial section of the 2002 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that critics say is written far too broadly and puts people who legitimately help refugees at risk of prosecution.  (Toronto Star)    


Publication bans unconstitutional

MEADOW LAKE - A SK judge has ruled that publication bans tied to 7 survivors of a mass school shooting are unconstitutional, determining the victims' desire for privacy does not trump the media's freedom to publish information and the public's right to know.  (Globe & Mail)


La Loche shootings

Publication ban

1999 conviction under review

Michael Wayne McGray  


Class action certified

OTTAWA - The Federal Court of Canada has certified a class-action lawsuit involving 40,000 people in the medical marijuana access program.  The case was launched in 2013 after Health Canada sent letters to people with the program's name on the envelope.    (CBC)       

Court curbs access

OTTAWA - Men accused of sexual assault do not have a right to look at police records involving women who made the sex-assault allegations when those records are not directly related to the case, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled.  (Globe & Mail)   JUDGMENT:   2014 SCC 46    


Duress allowed as defence

TORONTO - People who find themselves in a 'kill or be killed' situation can claim duress as a defence to murder, even though the Criminal Code explicitly rules it out, the Ontario Court of Appeal said.   (Globe & Mail)  JUDGMENT:   2015 ONCA 250


HALIFAX - Lawyers who spent years handling the case of people who allege they were abused at a defunct orphanage have been awarded $5.78M in legal fees by a NS Supreme Court judge.   (CP)  PREVIOUS:   Lawyers must justify fees 


Head of prosecutors union

TORONTO - The head of the union for Ontario prosecutors resigned late last year over a controversial decision to charge $20,000 to an association credit card for a colleague to go to rehab for apparent alcohol abuse.  (Toronto Star)  

Sentences lighter

TORONTO - Research published in the journal Current Sociology, finds that men who kill their wives, girlfriends or other female family members are handed shorter prison terms than men who kill strangers.  (CP)

Law Society report

TORONTO - A Law Society of Upper Canada committee released a report recommending referral fees - money paid when one lawyer refers a client to another lawyer - either be banned outright or capped.   (Toronto Star) 

2017 Regulation Committee Report   .pdf

Ads wild West

Cap contingency fees

Lawyer bilked clients of $4.8M

Lawyer misconduct kept quiet 

Law society helped

Pass for Crown attorneys

Lawyers payday

Lawyers' income

Future of legal services in Canada   .pdf 

Hunger strike to protest law firm 

Industry faces change

Camp resigns

Judge resigns

Knees together judge

CJC release    CJC 

Inquiry report

Camp inquiry report   .pdf

Camp transcript key passages

Robin Camp

Broken trust

Law Society of Upper Canada

Lawyer sentenced

Meerai Cho  

Lawyer disbarred

Most lawyers don't face criminal prosecution

Is Quebec the most lenient? 

More judges scrutinized

Lawyer disbarred in BC 


Ethics issues

WINNIPEG - Canada's ethics commissioner has found former Conservative cabinet minister Vic Toews broke the rules by doing consulting work for 2 MB First Nations after he left office.  (CBC)

Vic Toews

Now a judge

Blatant patronage


Drunks have right to counsel

OTTAWA - Police have an obligation to facilitate the right of a suspect to speak to a lawyer.   (Globe & Mail)   JUDGMENT:   2014 SCC 50  

Laws too complex

VANCOUVER - A BC Supreme Court judge has concluded the province's workplace-safety laws are too vague.    (CP) 


Abuse of process

VANCOUVER - The government decided to refer Carlo Fabbiano to an inadmissibility hearing in 2009 - but waited more than 4 years to tell him about it.   (CBC)  

Secret witness provision

OTTAWA - It would be up to a judge to decide whether a witness could testify anonymously under the Conservatives' so-called Victims' Bill of Rights.  (Star)   Victims bill of rights


State immunity

OTTAWA - Zahra Kazemi's son can't overcome state immunity to sue the government, or Iran or key Iranian officials, for allegedly torturing and killing his mother, Canada's top court says.  (CBC)    JUDGMENT:   2014 SCC 62     Zahra Kazemi

SCC upholds conviction  

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously upheld the sexual assault conviction of a NS man who tried to trick his girlfriend into becoming pregnant by poking holes in her condoms.  (CP)  JUDGMENT:   2014 SCC 19   Condom piercer loses


SCC rules

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in favour of Claude Robinson, a Quebec animator after a legal battle that took nearly 20 years to settle.  (CP)   JUDGMENT:   2013 SCC 73    Claude Robinson 

SCC rules against lawyer

OTTAWA - The SCC has ruled against a Vancouver lawyer who refused to retire at 65 and charged that his law firm's mandatory retirement policy was discriminatory.  (Globe & Mail)  JUDGMENT:   2014 SCC 39  


Court strikes down AB's law

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada struck down Alberta's privacy law as unconstitutional in a case where a union photographed and videotaped people crossing a picket line during a long strike.  (CP)  JUDGMENT:   2013 SCC 62 

SCC denies 'provoked'

OTTAWA - Worried about Canadians taking the law into their own hands, the SCC has made it tougher for people to claim the partial defence that they were provoked to kill someone.  (Globe & Mail)  JUDGMENT:   2013 SCC 55   2013 SCC 56


Man to stay on life support

OTTAWA - The SCC has dismissed an appeal that would have permitted doctors to end life support for a severely brain-damaged man without the consent of his family or substitute decision maker.  (CP) 


2013 SCC 53

Consent needed

Life support against medical advice


Police need permission

OTTAWA - Police entering a home with a search warrant have no right to search any computers they find unless a judge has given them specific permission, the SCC ruled.  (Globe & Mail)  JUDGMENT:   2013 SCC 60 

Lawyers' levy stays steady

ST JOHN'S - An insurance fund for lawyers in Newfoundland and Labrador has ballooned to $10M, even as clients continue to be charged a premium on top of their legal fees to help cover potential mistakes.   (CBC)


SCC stands by dogs

OTTAWA - The SCC is standing firm on the rules for using sniffer dogs for police searches.   (CP)   MORE:   2013 SCC 49   2013 SCC 50    Detection dog   

Should be fired

TORONTO -  Justice of the Peace Donna Phillips was found guilty of judicial misconduct in July by the 3-person Justice of the Peace review council.  (Toronto Star)


SCC upholds procedure

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada is upholding procedures that permit shortcuts in allowing a motorist's breathalyzer sample into evidence - even in cases where taking the sample may have been unlawful.  (CP)

2017 SCC 37  

Missing details halting trials


Breathalyzer failure

Another rejected breathalyzer test

Breathalyzer questioned

Breathalyzer accuracy

Breathalyzer concerns

Greed & corruption BC 


Western face covering

EDMONTON - Ken Finlayson made headlines when he walked into the advance polling station in south Edmonton while wearing a cowboy hat and a bandana on his face.  (CBC)

Covering more important than oath

Oath of Citizenship 

Stupid niqab debate

Woman in niqab granted citizenship

Veil sometimes ok

Judges may order witnesses to remove

Niqab ok in some cases



SCC upholds conviction

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the conviction of a blasting company that failed to tell the Ontario Environment Ministry about a mishap that sent debris flying onto a nearby property.  (CP)  JUDGMENT:   2013 SCC 52  

SCC backs new trial

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed in a decision released that a Toronto-area woman should face a new trial on a charge of hiding her dead baby's body.  (CBC)  JUDGMENT:   2013 SCC 25    SCC agrees new trial needed


Victim surcharge nixed

OTTAWA - Mandatory victim surcharges amount to cruel and unusual punishment, a judge has ruled.  (QMI)    MORE:   Judge strikes down mandatory surcharge   Victim surcharge  

Search without warrants

OTTAWA - Federal officials will have the right to walk into Canadian workplaces without a warrant as part of a tightening of the foreign temporary workers program.   (Globe & Mail)


Secret SCC hearing

OTTAWA - At the centre of the hearing is a little-used immigration tool called a security certificate, which allows suspects to be detained for years without charge on national security grounds. (CBC)

Judges may 'cut and paste'

OTTAWA - Judges can incorporate material they didn't write into their judgments provided they apply themselves diligently to the issues in the case, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled.  (Globe & Mail)  


'Patent troll'

OTTAWA - Beginning in 2006 with a claim against the Vancouver Airport, Dovden has launched 42 lawsuits in Canada, including 32 in the last year.  (CBC)

Court OKs settlement

OTTAWA - The Federal Court of Canada has rubber-stamped an $887M settlement of a class-action lawsuit involving thousands of disabled veterans.   (CP)



TORONTO - An advocate for the rights of jurors has filed a lawsuit seeking damages from the federal and Ontario governments for post-traumatic stress disorder he developed during a lengthy murder trial.   (Ottawa Citizen) 

What jury duty is really like

Who's to blame

'We are a flabby, sad generation'  

Judge slams jury no-shows

Privacy czar investigating

Right to screen jury

Taking steps to stop vetting

More secret juror screening

'Tainted' jury panels get the boot


Tax money at work

STEPHENVILLE - The College of the North Atlantic wants a secret Supreme Court hearing to explain why it should not have to disclose how much it spends on external legal fees.  (CBC)

Random tests not justified

OTTAWA - The SCC says an employer who wants to impose random alcohol testing on unionized workers in a dangerous work environment must show it is a reasonable move.   (CP)  2013 SCC 34


 Dead have no rights

VANCOUVER - Lawyers for the federal government say the family of a BC woman, who died after RCMP failed to investigate the gunshots that killed her, can't sue the government because the victim lost her rights when she died.    (CBC)   MORE:   Cops and bloggers     

No documents

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada says it cannot find any documents related to explosive new allegations that some of its members intervened in the patriation of the Constitution.  (CP)   PREVIOUS:   SCC probe   SCC to examine allegations   Bora Laskin 


Threats of violence

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that threats of violence in themselves are a form of violence and can be used to determine whether someone should go to prison indefinitely.  (CP)   JUDGMENT:   2014 SCC 61   'I have a gun'     

Sub-par school

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in favour of a group of BC parents who claimed a French-language public school their children attended in Vancouver was sub-par compared with schools attended by English-speaking students.  (CP)   JUDGMENT:   2015 SCC 21    


Gov't pronounce you married

VICTORIA - BC’s new Family Law Act comes into effect, granting couples who have lived together for 2 or more years the same rights and regulations as married couples.   (Globe & Mail)  


New Laws take couples by surprise

Family Law Act

Guide to the new BC Family Law Act

Misconceptions about common-law

Common-law not entitled

QC common-law spouses

Divorce decision



CALGARY - Arthur Kent has won his defamation lawsuit against Don Martin and Postmedia.  (CBC)

Arthur Kent

Former journalist wins lawsuit

Police seize computer

Civil liberties attack  

Silencing Fredericton's gadfly

Charles LeBlanc's old blog

Charles LeBlanc

Appeal of libel lawsuits

Rewriting our libel laws

Canadian defamation law

Brian Burke 

Burke can sue online

Burke files a lawsuit

Defamation suit

Lawsuit draws online debate

Heenan Blaikie

Links not libel  

Big victory for internet  

Wayne Crookes

Bill for winning

SCC back press


Civil liberties vs. justice

TORONTO - A judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal said he worries Canadians will treat the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with disdain if courts routinely throw out evidence of serious crime because it has been obtained through police misconduct.  (Toronto Star)     Hide IDs in court rulings

  Honesty the law for businesses

OTTAWA - Supreme Court justices rewrote centuries-old common law to clarify case law about the legal duty of businesses to act in good faith with companies and people with whom they have contracts.  (Globe & Mail)  JUDGMENT:   2014 SCC 71    


Canada scores high

TORONTO - Canada scored well above average in 2012 when it came to the rule of law, according to an annual survey of 97 countries conducted by the World Justice Project.  (CP)  REPORT:   2012 rule of law survey   Canada drops in justice index

Courtrooms need heat

IQALUIT - Robert Kilpatrick issued a directive to have all locations inspected where circuit court is held.  He said they need to make sure there's running water, a phone jack, working toilets, heat and a functioning fire alarm.   (CBC)  Court 'truly an adventure'


Cheated by the system

CALGARY - The case was dropped after a judge said it had dragged on for too long.  Arizona says she was sexually assaulted by a relative from the time she was 9 until she was 17.  (CTV)

Sisters win court case

OSHAWA - 8 years after a car crash left 2 Port Perry sisters paralyzed, the Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear an appeal by the municipalities found liable for the horrific accident.   (Toronto Star)


Access to information

OTTAWA - The SCC has taken a small step toward recognizing that citizens sometimes need access to government documents to exercise freedom of expression, but stopped short of calling it a broad constitutional right.  (Toronto Star) 

Fraudsters get early parole

VANCOUVER - Some notorious fraudsters are being released from jail as a result of a court decision that says their rights were violated by a change in legislation aimed at keeping white collar criminals behind bars.  (CBC)


Homeless can camp in parks

VANCOUVER - A homeless community in BC's Fraser Valley has won the right to camp overnight in city parks.   (CP)

2015 BCSC 1909

Homeless win

Court sides with homeless

Charter a living bush of poison ivy

2007 ONCA 392

Mixed signals from courts

Rights infringed

Charter challenged on prostitution 

Homeless woman bear spray attack




Court reprimands judge

TORONTO - A judge with a history of releasing reasons for judgment years late was reprimanded by Ontario's top court for 'frustrat(ing) the proper administration of justice.'     (Toronto Star)

2017 ONCA 0426 

Court slams judge

Judge cocaine inquiry

Canadian Judicial Council

Judge errors

Incompetent judges

Upbraided Toronto judge   

Gentle knuckle-rap

BC Judges hall of shame

JP found guilty

Would-be judge 'forgot' conviction 

Federal Court judge review

Judge might be beyond fixing

What does it take to have a judge removed?

Judge unfit for office

Complaint withdrawn

Comments taken out of context

Complaint filed

Charges stayed

Council completes its review of 2007 complaints

Judging the Judge, again

Canadian Judicial Council

Judge was upfront

Blackmail risk  

Photos cannot defeat the web

Man must pay

Inquiry regarding Michel Girouard

Judge apologizes

Federal Court of Canada statement (.pdf)

Judge's bad conduct frees man

Jury nullification

Judge admits 'error in judgment'

Ontario Judicial Council   

Lori Douglas   

Photos contained in complaint  

Lawsuit against Judge dropped

Lori Douglas legal case  


Judge's expense claims

Judge faces review of expenses 

Background check failure


Pay for 'friends of the court'

OTTAWA - Canada's top court ruled that courts don't have the authority to decide the rate of pay for lawyers who act as "friends of the court."  (CBC)   2013 SCC 43  

Provinces to set lawyer rates

Technology could help

Moving trials along a struggle

Court in crisis

Justice for all: a blueprint

Civil Justice Reform Project

The dark side of justice

Couple save home by ditching appeal

System leaves out the middle class

SCC upholds publication bans

Greening your law firm

3 free trial days

Laws mean we need more money

BC Apology Act

Taking your own counsel

Lawyers’ fee fight

Let judges run courts, lawyers say

Access to justice a 'basic right'

Lawyers Gone Bad

Exposé makes lawyer Enemy No. 1


Leniency behind youth crime

There's and old adage in economics: If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less, tax it. The same could also be said slightly differently in sociology: If you want more of a certain behaviour, reward it; if you want less, punish it. 

Time for the truth

Crime stats: drilling down for the truth

Canadian Research Institute

Tough sentences don't deter


SCC overturns BCCA's overturn

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has restored a finding against a BC doctor after a botched delivery that left a newborn with permanent brain damage.   The BC Court of Appeal overturned the ruling in favour of the doctor, but the Supreme Court has now reversed that decision. (CP)  


2013 SCC 18

4th trial for Ellard

Make the justice system accountable


New trial ordered

OTTAWA - The SCC has ordered a new trial in a sexual assault case involving a mentally disabled witness, and has given her the right to testify in court.  (CBC)    

Obscure offences reviewed

OTTAWA - A new study of Canada's sprawling Criminal Code found not a single case of anyone prosecuted for "acts intended to alarm Her Majesty."   (CTV)  Criminal Code 


Lawyer sues

TORONTO - Laura Liscio has filed a lawsuit against Peel Regional Police alleging her public arrest and the force's 'false' statements about it have done lasting damage to her professional reputation.   (CP)

'Uncivil' lawyer

Law Society of Upper Canada  

Lawyer guilty

Lawyer pleads not guilty

Lawyer bilked clients

Another good character

Lobbyist guilty of bribery

Man who bribed aide ok to practise

Erik Bornmann  

Law firm 'undermined' proceedings


Judges are entitled

VICTORIA - Provincial court judges are taking the BC government to court, arguing that the provincial government was irrational and unreasonable when it denied them a pay raise that wouldn't even come into effect for another 18 months.   (CBC)  MORE:  Judges lawsuit  .pdf   Report on BC Judicial compensation   .pdf   Secretive discipline process

Wiretaps can be used

OTTAWA - Judges are allowed to release private wiretaps that were obtained during criminal investigations for the purposes of civil trials, the Supreme Court ruled.   JUDGMENT:   2014 SCC 66   Wiretap evidence to be used in lawsuit   Wiretap appeal dismissed   2014 SCC 72   Police can share wiretaps with foreign nations 


Judge tosses evidence

100 MILE HOUSE - A BC judge has thrown out all evidence against a Chinese-born man found with 57 marijuana plants in his truck, ruling that he was the victim of racial profiling by the RCMP.   (CTV) 

Landlord forfeits homes

VANCOUVER - BC Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman approved the forfeiture of two of the homes as proceeds of crime, ruling that Rai was "wilfully blind" to what was going on at his properties.  (CTV) 


Former ambassador guilty

When his 9-minute documentary on a Canadian company’s alleged human rights abuses in Guatemala was disparaged by Canada’s ambassador to that country, a York University filmmaker took the federal government to small claims court.  And won.   (Toronto Star)


OTTAWA - The government’s attempt to put constraints on judges’ discretion, and stop them from giving convicted criminals extra credit for time served in jail before trial, ran up against highly skeptical questions bordering on disbelief at the SCC.  (Globe & Mail)  Act comes into effect


Barrick drops on publishers

How many readers of The Tyee or Canadians are aware that Barrick Gold  has been engaged in using SLAPPs - Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation - against two small presses. (Tyee)  MORE:  Noir Canada   Peter Munk

Informer released from jail

TORONTO - The first thing you notice about a judgment released by the Ontario Court of Appeal is the word “WARNING”, followed by bold, black type explaining the court file in the case has been sealed.   (Toronto Star)

SCC human rights ruling

OTTAWA - The SCC has upheld provisions against hate speech in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, but stuck down some of the code's wording.  Although the legislation infringes the rights to free expression and free religion, the court is allowing most of it as reasonable limits.  (CBC)

Court rules against anti-homosexual

SCC kills hope for free speech

SCC upholds decision

Boy was discriminated against

SCC on drunk driving

SCC upholds new drunk driving law

SCC acquits

SCC clarifies ruling

Ruling has complicated simple  

SCC picks  

Meet & greet   

Trash' case tests privacy rights

SCC rejects damage award

Giant Mine


Right not a given

OTTAWA - The right to silence in Canada is not an absolute rule that requires police to stop interrogating people who have no wish to speak with investigators, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled.  (Toronto Star) 

Class action blowback

TORONTO - The unusual scenario could hardly have been envisioned 5 years ago, when a team of class-action lawyers led by the Toronto firm of Roy, Elliott, O'Connor LLP, appeared before the judge with a proposed retainer agreement, which would have seen 50% of pension arrears paid to the claimants diverted to the lawyers.  (Toronto Star) 


5 years for bribery scheme

OXFORD, Miss. - Richard 'Dickie' Scruggs, who became one of the wealthiest lawyers in the country by taking on tobacco, asbestos and insurance companies, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for conspiring to bribe a judge.   (AP)   PREVIOUS:  US Class action lawsuits

Newspaper uses Anton Piller order

ST JOHN - Brunswick News Inc. has used a little-known legal procedure to allow the search of a home of a former newspaper publisher to try to ensure he doesn't use confidential information to start his own publication.   William Kenneth Langdon resigned as publisher of the Woodstock Bugle-Observer and has since opened the office of the Carleton Free Press. 


Supreme Court Canada: judgments

BC Courts Judgments


Prime Time Crime

Recent Headlines