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Bail refusal highlights grounds to detain accused persons

An Ontario’s judge’s decision to deny bail to the Canadian accused in the massive hack of Yahoo emails puts the spotlight on the grounds a court relies on to detain someone pending a trial, says Kingston criminal lawyer Jordan Tekenos-Levy.

“It was certainly within the means of the court to hold this individual if his prospects for fleeing are as described,” he tells

Tekenos-Levy, an associate with Aitken Robertson Criminal Lawyers, comments on the case after the judge rejected the man’s parents as sureties, and found he had incentive and the means to seek refuge abroad, reports the Canadian Press.

The 22-year-old man was arrested in the Hamilton area under the Extradition Act last month after U.S. authorities indicted him and three others for computer hacking, economic espionage and other charges, says the article. Two of the other men are allegedly officers of Russia's Federal Security Service, it says.

While the Yahoo breach impacted at least a half-billion user accounts, the Canadian is accused of hacking 80 accounts, says the wire service.

His lawyer argued for him to be released to live with his parents on a form of house arrest with an electronic monitoring bracelet and a prohibition from using the Internet, says the article. 

But the judge said releasing him on bail would raise questions about the administration of justice and open Canada to international embarrassment, it says. 

Tekenos-Levy, who wasn't involved in the case and comments generally, says one of the major tenets a judge must consider in releasing someone after a bail hearing is whether they will attend court as summoned. 

“It’s important to note the rules on the admissibility of evidence are more lax at a bail hearing,” he says.

“If the Crown attorney makes assertions that the accused has vast sums of money and international connections, the prosecution need not prove the substance of that assertion as an accurate representation. Instead, the Crown can rely on the statement and use it to justify detention on the primary ground, or to ensure the accused will attend court.”

Tekenos-Levy explains the grounds on which the accused was not approved for judicial interim release. 

“The primary ground concerns whether the accused will attend court as required,” he says. “The secondary ground relates to whether his detention is necessary for the protection or safety of the public. This typically encompasses considering the accused's likelihood of reoffending while on interim release, as well as whether the release will interfere with the administration of justice.”

Tekenos-Levy says in this matter, it’s clear the Crown portrayed the accused as someone who could be held on either of the first or secondary grounds. 

“Justice Whitten evidently agreed with the Crown's representations in that regard and the man will be held until he gets his day in court,” he says. 

If convicted in the United States, the accused faces up to 20 years in prison; his extradition hearing hasn’t yet been scheduled, says the Canadian Press. He is expected back in a Hamilton court on May 26. 

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