Canada (Attorney General) v. Whaling, 2014 SCC 20

When the federal government passed the Abolition of Early Parole Act, three inmates serving sentences for first-time, non-violent offences argued that the retroactive application of such legislation infringed their right not to be “punished again” for the same offence. When they were sentenced, these individuals were eligible for day parole after just one sixth of their custodial sentences were served. The new legislation, however, extended their sentences far beyond what was initially imposed. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 11(g): Retroactivity, Section 11(h): Double Jeopardy, Section 11(i): Lesser Punishment, Section 11: Legal Rights

Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72

The Respondents, a group of prostitutes and former prostitutes, argued that a number of Criminal Code provisions prohibiting expression and commercial activities relating to prostitution were in breach of Sections 7 and 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression, Section 7: Life, Liberty, & Security of the Person

Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62

The Respondent, a labour union representing employees at an Edmonton casino during the course of a lawful strike, had run afoul of Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act by videotaping individuals crossing the picket line during the strike, and using the images collected in union newsletters, strike leaflets, and a website called CasinoScabs.ca. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression

R. v. Vu, 2013 SCC 60

The accused, Thanh Long Vu, was suspected of electricity theft. Police obtained a warrant to search his home, but made no mention in the Information to Obtain that computers might be seized and searched. In the course of the search, a marijuana grow operation was discovered, and evidence obtained from the search of a computer was used to connect Vu with allegations of marijuana production and electricity theft. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 24: Enforcement of Rights, Section 8: Search & Seizure

R. v. MacKenzie, 2013 SCC 50

Benjamin Cain MacKenzie was subject to a traffic stop, during which police developed a suspicion that he was trafficking drugs. The factors pointed to by the officers on the scene were Mr. MacKenzie’s “erratic manner of driving, high level of nervousness, the pinkish hue of his eyes, his course of travel and contradictory answers on his travel dates.” Continue reading

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Filed under Section 24: Enforcement of Rights, Section 8: Search & Seizure

R. v. Chehil, 2013 SCC 49

The accused, Mandeep Singh Chehil, aroused the suspicion of police when he booked a one-way overnight flight from Vancouver to Halifax, travelling alone, paying cash for his ticket at the last minute, and checking one bag. Considering all of these factors, the police developed “reasonable suspicion” that Mr. Chehil was trafficking drugs and presented his checked bag to a sniffer dog. When the dog gave a positive indication for the presence of drugs, police opened the bag and discovered three kilograms of cocaine. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 24: Enforcement of Rights, Section 8: Search & Seizure

R. v. Ghozerash, 2013 BCCA 272

In September 2009, Azad Yousefi Ghozerash was charged with importing and possessing opium for the purpose of trafficking. His case was initially set for trial in December 2010, but adjourned due to the unavailability of a Crown witness. The trial was then rescheduled for October 2011, at which time counsel for the accused made an application for a judicial stay of proceedings on account of unreasonable delay. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 11(b): Trial Within Reasonable Time, Section 11: Legal Rights

R. v. Ahmed-Kadir, 2013 BCCA 269

The appellant, Aras Ahmed-Kadir, had been convicted of four offences involving unlicensed handgun possession and possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. After filing his Notice of Appeal, he applied for the equivalent of a Rowbotham order, asking the court to appoint counsel pursuant to Section 684 of the Criminal Code. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 7: Life, Liberty, & Security of the Person

R. v. Levkovic, 2013 SCC 25

Ivana Levkovic was charged under Section 243 of the Criminal Code with concealing the dead body of a child, after the remains of a newborn baby (allegedly “at or near full term”) was found in her vacated apartment. Levkovic challenged the constitutionality of Section 243 as being unconstitutionally vague, insofar as it related to a child which died before birth and was therefore stillborn. She argued that the law constituted an infringement on her right to liberty and interfered with every woman’s right not to disclose a naturally failed pregnancy. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 7: Life, Liberty, & Security of the Person

R. v. Mailhot, 2013 SCC 17

In a brief but meaningful decision rendered March 28, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada insisted on a new trial for Jean Philippe Mailhot, an accused individual whose right to a fair trial had been compromised by comments of the trial judge during the charge to the jury. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 11(d): Presumption of Innocence, Section 11(f): Trial by Jury, Section 11: Legal Rights