Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2014 SCC 59

The Canadian Bar Association and Trial Lawyers Association mounted a constitutional challenge of hearing fees imposed by the Province of British Columbia. The fees in question amounted to between $500 and $800 per day of court time. In the context of a ten-day family trial, the fees amounted almost to the family’s net income for an entire month. Continue reading

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

R. v. Mian, 2014 SCC 54

The accused, Mohammad Hassan Mian, was arrested for possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, but not informed of the reason for his detention for 22 minutes, and not informed of his right to retain and instruct counsel for approximately 25 minutes. After cross-examining a number of police officers, defence counsel argued that police had violated Sections 10(a) and 10(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 10(a): Reason for Detention, Section 10(b): Right to Counsel, Section 10: Rights on Arrest

R. v. Taylor, 2014 SCC 50

The accused, Jamie Kenneth Taylor, was arrested and taken to hospital after crashing his vehicle and injuring three of his passengers. Police suspected that Mr. Taylor was intoxicated but did not advise him of his right to retain and instruct counsel. While Mr. Taylor was at the hospital (in police custody), blood samples were taken to him. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 10(b): Right to Counsel, Section 10: Rights on Arrest

R. v. Spencer, 2014 SCC 43

The accused, Matthew David Spencer, was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography as a result of a police investigation using Limewire, an anonymous peer-to-peer file sharing software. Upon discovering an IP address which appeared to be the source … Continue reading

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

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