Understanding Canadian Criminal Law

Considering immigration consequences on sentencing

Earlier this week, tsupreme_court_of_canadahe Supreme Court of Canada released their ruling in R. v. Pham 2013 SCC 15 which answers the question, “What weight should be given to collateral immigration consequences in sentencing?”

Mr. Pham was not a Canadian citizen. He was convicted at trial of producing marihuana and possessing it for the purpose of trafficking. The trial judge imposed a sentence of two years imprisonment after a receiving a joint recommendation on sentence from Pham’s lawyer and the crown prosecutor. Continue reading 

Public Mischief Charges in Canada

Toronto PoliceIt is a crime in Canada to cause a police officer to enter on or continue an investigation with the intent to mislead them in any of the following scenarios:

(a) making a false statement that accuses some other person of having committed an offence;

(b) doing anything intended to cause some other person to be suspected of having committed an offence that the other person has not committed, or to divert suspicion from himself;

(c) reporting that an offence has been committed when it has not been committed; or

(d) reporting or in any way making it known or causing it to be made known that he or some other person has died when he or that other person has not died.

Committing any of these acts can lead to a public mischief charge. Continue reading 

Understanding the Defence of Entrapment in Canada

under arrest

The police will often act covertly in an undercover capacity in order to investigate criminal activity. Rarely, the police will go too far in their undercover investigations and actually induce an otherwise law-abiding person into committing a crime such as trafficking drugs or soliciting a prostitute. The criminal justice system protects against situations like this by dismissing cases where such behaviour has occurred on the basis that such police conduct constitutes an abuse of the court’s process. Continue reading 

How your criminal conviction can impact your civil lawsuit

Civil-Lawsuit_optIt is often understood that a criminal conviction may significantly impact a person’s future employment and travel opportunities. However, most people facing criminal charges are unaware how a conviction may impact their ability to bring or defend a civil lawsuit arising from the same incident that gave rise to the criminal charges.

Daniel Brown works closely with a select group of experienced personal injury lawyers to ensure that his clients interests are protected in both criminal and civil court. Continue reading 

Ending house arrest for various criminal and drug offences

house arrestConditional sentencing, introduced in Canada in September 1996, allows for sentences of imprisonment to be served in the community, rather than in a correctional facility. Conditional sentences normally include a period of house arrest but may also include graduated restrictions including curfew and residence requirements, in order to allow those bound by a conditional sentence to work or attend school where appropriate.

One of the primary goals of conditional sentencing was to reduce the reliance upon incarceration by providing an alternative sentencing mechanism to the courts. Continue reading 

Self Defence: a person attacked in the home need not retreat

burglary_1014464c_optEarlier this week, the Ontario Court of Appeal released their ruling in R. v. Docherty, 2012 ONCA 784. The central issue in Docherty was whether the trial judge improperly instructed the jury that a person under attack has a duty to retreat from their home in order to assert a legitimate claim of self-defence.

Kenneth Docherty killed Tyson Weber by stabbing him seven times in the neck during an altercation inside the garage attached to Docherty’s home. Continue reading 

Corporal Punishment in Canada – to spank or not to spank?

corporal punishmentThis article attempts to clarify to what extent parents or teachers can physically discipline children under their care.

Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada, enacted in 1892, provides parents, teachers and caregivers — including babysitters and foster parents — a defence to an assault allegation when they use corporal punishment as “reasonable force” to discipline children.

Section 43 contemplates four elements which must be present if the disciplining is to be justified:

(a) a certain relation between the discipliner and the child;

(b) the force used must be used for the purpose of correction;

(c) the child must be under the care of the discipliner when the force is used; and

(d) the force must not “exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances” Continue reading 

New Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Serious Drug Offences in Canada

jail cellBeginning today, our streets have apparently become, “a little safer”, according to our Federal Government.

The Safe Streets & Communities Act, which came into force today, includes provisions that would establish mandatory minimum penalties for serious drug offences when they are carried out for organized crime purposes, or if they involve targeting youth, in addition to a variety of other situations that seemingly have nothing to do with either organized crime or protecting youth. Continue reading