Criminal Law

Lawsuit over solitary confinement in Ontario jails certified as class action

TORONTO — A lawsuit alleging the Ontario government violated the rights of inmates by placing them inappropriately in solitary confinement can proceed as a class action, a Superior Court judge has ruled. Read more

GOP pushing forward for Kavanaugh, accuser wants 'fairness'

WASHINGTON — Christine Blasey Ford may testify against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after all, her attorney said, breathing new life into the prospect of a dramatic Senate showdown next week over Ford's accusation that he assaulted her when they were in high school. Read more

Top court clears way for suing police; men waited until criminal charges over

TORONTO — Canada's top court has paved the way for a pair of separate civil lawsuits to proceed by affirming earlier rulings that two men alleging police assaulted them were justified in waiting for their criminal proceedings to end before suing. Read more

Supreme Court sends strong message to vigilantes

The Supreme Court of Canada has taken a strong stance against vigilante justice, says Toronto criminal lawyer John Fennel, an associate with Hicks Adams LLP . Read more

If the shoe doesn't fit ... you must acquit

A man has been acquitted of three robberies after Toronto criminal defence lawyer Tyler Smith argued that the similarity between his client’s shoes and the perpetrator’s, though striking, was insufficient to prove guilt. Read more

SCC reaffirms confidential informant privilege in cops’ trial

When four British Columbia police officers facing trial in the notorious Surrey Six case tried to get permission to reveal information about confidential informants to their lawyers, the defence bar pricked up its ears, says Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb. Read more

Appeals more complex than clients realize: Daviau

Preparation and care are more important than speed in filing appeals — something clients don’t often understand, says Toronto criminal lawyer Lindsay Daviau . Read more

Restrictive, reactionary laws won't stop gun violence

In order to deter people from using guns for violent purposes, the underpinnings of criminal behaviour need to be fully identified and understood, Toronto criminal lawyer Laurelly Dale writes in The Lawyer’s Daily . Read more

Approachability makes for good client relationships: Goldlist

One of the keys to being a good defence lawyer is being approachable to clients, says Toronto defence lawyer Jordana Goldlist. Read more

‘How do you represent the people you represent?’

By Ryan Handlarski . I have represented everyone from accused drug traffickers, to accused sexual assaulters, to accused murderers. The stock answer to this question from most criminal lawyers goes something like this: “Because I believe that every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and because I believe every person is entitled to a fair trial. Because I believe that advocating for accused people facing the power of the state is the best way to preserve civil liberties in a democratic society and because I believe challenging the power of the state is fundamental to a democratic society.” Of course, I believe these things as well and will fight for these principles until my last breath. But I cannot say this is the main reason that I love criminal law or became a defence lawyer. Read more

What to expect if police suspect you are driving on drugs

By Joseph Neuberger . It is no mystery why Ontario law enforcement and safety advocates urge drivers to stay off the road after they have been using any substances that may result in impairment. Driving under the influence of drugs, even certain prescription drugs, raises the possibility that you will be involved in a motor vehicle accident that could cause you or others to suffer serious or fatal injuries. For this reason, if the police pull you over under suspicion that you have been taking drugs, your options may be limited. Read more

Judge's racial profiling finding took courage: Gadhia

It's shocking that there have been so few judicial findings of racial profiling by police which undersells the long-argued problem, says Toronto criminal lawyer Roots Gadhia. Read more

Success of automatism defence for sex assaults 'pretty low': Stilman

An Ontario court decision allowing the defence of automatism caused by extreme inebriation in sex assault cases does not mean it’s open season on women, says Toronto criminal lawyer Jacob Stilman. Read more

New marijuana laws a maze of confusion

Canadians may be in for a rude awakening in October when the legalization of marijuana ushers in a labyrinth of confusing laws that could leave them open to criminal prosecution, says Toronto criminal lawyer David Smith. Read more

The intense highs and immense lows of criminal law

By Ryan Handlarski . Let me tell you about the first acquittal that I ever experienced. The client was charged with a sexual assault and forcible confinement. If he were found guilty, he was going to go to jail for years and have his life and reputation destroyed. He wondered aloud to me whether this experience would be survivable (both the conviction and the jail). If he were found not guilty, he was going to be free and have the opportunity to rebuild his life. It was a judge alone trial and we were anxiously awaiting the verdict. Read more