Charter Cases: Section 11: Legal Rights

Section 11 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

11. Any person charged with an offence has the right
(a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
(b) to be tried within a reasonable time;
(c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
(e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;
(f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;
(g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;
(h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again;
(i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.

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

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. 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

R. v. N.S., 2012 SCC 72

Two accused persons stood charged with sexually assaulting N.S. When called to testify, N.S. stated that she wished to wear a niqab which covered her face, and which she insisted was a necessary part of her Muslim faith. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 11(d): Presumption of Innocence, Section 2(a): Freedom of Religion, Section 2: Fundamental Freedoms, Section 7: Life, Liberty, & Security of the Person

R. v. Dineley, 2012 SCC 58

Dineley was heard as a companion case alongside R. v. St Onge Lamoureux and involved an analysis of whether legislative amendments to Canada’s impaired driving laws could operate retrospectively, thereby preventing the accused from calling an expert witness to cast doubt on Breathalyzer results. The amendments in question only became law during the course of Mr. Dineley’s trial. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 11(d): Presumption of Innocence, Section 11: Legal Rights

R. v. St-Onge Lamoureux, 2012 SCC 57

The accused, Anic St-Onge Lamoureux, was charged with impaired driving and had sought at trial to advance a so called “Carter defence,” arguing that the Breathalyzer results obtained from her did not accurately represent her blood alcohol level. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 11(d): Presumption of Innocence, Section 11: Legal Rights

R. v. Hill, 2012 ONSC 5050

Roland Hill challenged the constitutionality of Section 753(1.1) of the Criminal Code, arguing that it violated the presumption of innocence and principles of fundamental justice insofar as shifted the burden of proof onto convicted offenders to demonstrate that they should not be prosecuted as “dangerous offenders.” Continue reading

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Filed under Section 11(d): Presumption of Innocence, Section 7: Life, Liberty, & Security of the Person

R. v. D.A.I., 2012 SCC 5

The D.A.I. case involved a mentally challenged 23-year-old complainant who alleged that her mother’s common law partner had repeatedly sexually assaulted her over a period of four years. The complainant’s mental capacities were found to be equivalent to those of a three- to six-year-old child and the trial judge excluded her evidence because it had not been shown that she understood the duty to testify truthfully. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 11: Legal Rights

R. v. Bartle, [1994] 3 S.C.R. 173

R. v. Bartle established a positive duty on the part of police officers to provide detained persons with an opportunity to exercise their right to retain and instruct counsel. In this case, police officers informed Mr. Bartle of his right to counsel when they took him into custody for suspected impaired driving, but failed to advise him of a toll-free number that he could call to speak with a duty counsel lawyer. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 10(b): Right to Counsel, Section 10: Rights on Arrest, Section 11(c): Self Incrimination, Section 11: Legal Rights

R. v. Nova Scotia Pharmaceutical Society, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 606

The Nova Scotia Pharmaceutical Society was charged with two counts of conspiracy to unduly prevent or lessen competition, as a result of its practices in selling and dispensing prescription drugs in 1986 and prior. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 11(a): Right to be Informed of Offence, Section 11(d): Presumption of Innocence, Section 11: Legal Rights, Section 7: Life, Liberty, & Security of the Person