Month: November 2017

Kyla Lee Interviewed on Global News at 6

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On December 1, 2017, new rules came in with stiffer driving prohibitions for street racing and stunt driving. Under the rules prior to Dec.1, penalties for street racing or stunt driving could land you a 15-day penalty. But after Dec. 1, those same penalties could be increased to the range of three to 36 months. 

The NDP government says the penalties are intended for those who recklessly speed in urban areas, pointing to an example of travelling 180 km/h over the Lions Gate Bridge, which would be more than three times the speed limit in the area. 

The Government is Misrepresenting the Story about Street Racing and Stunting

Today, RoadSafetyBC made a major announcement regarding how it is going to start dealing with cases of street racing and stunt driving. You can read the announcement here.
 
At first blush, it sounds great for road safety. The Government makes it sound as though the current system allows only for fifteen-day prohibitions for street racing or stunt driving, and that these will now be replaced with longer prohibitions, between three and thirty six months, after this type of driving behaviour is observed. The problem with this announcement is that it sorely misrepresents the current state of affairs, and it misleads the public about why this action is being taken.
 
To understand this issue it’s necessary to understand the current system.

BC Supreme Court rules in Favour of Laboratory Analysis Disclosure in Drug Case

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Without sending the material to a drug lab for analysis, it can be impossible to determine whether a substance is an illegal drug.


Something criminal defence lawyers are often familiar with is the process police use to determine whether suspected narcotics are actually illegal drugs. After all, it can be hard to tell whether that baggy of white power seized from an accused pockets isn’t just flour or baking soda in a bag. While baking soda may often be used as a “cutting” agent, it’s not illegal to possess in any quantity. But to the naked eye, baking soda is essentially indistinguishable from nefarious and illegal substances. 

New drinking and driving rules bring mandatory alcohol screening to Canada

In May, the federal government tabled Bill C-46, which would amend the Criminal Code for impaired driving offences. The proposed changes come on the eve of the government’s legalization of recreational cannabis use, and they include new “legal limit” drug offences, as well as mandatory alcohol screening.

Proponents say that mandatory alcohol screening, for one, will bring Canada into line with other Western nations that have lowered impaired driving charges using this form of screening; but the criminal defence bar cautions that aspects of the new bill may present Charter challenges and further burdens on the courts.

Ponzi scheme impacts church congregation

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Kyla Lee interviewed by Grace Ke on Global News on Nov. 26, 2017.
Scores of B.C. investors – many of them from the same church – have lost millions in an apparent Ponzi scheme. The woman they hold responsible still attends that church and as Grace Ke reports, this case is a real warning to others who may be promised unusually large returns on their investments. Grace Ke reports.

Kyla Lee interviewed on Global News Hour at 6

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Human remains of an 18-year-old teen girl were found on the Salmon Arm, BC farm where Curtis Sagmoen lives. Sagmoen, a 37-year-old, has been charged in connection with an alleged threat towards a sex worker using a firearm.

Whether any connection between the charges Sagmoen is currently facing, and the human remains of teen Traci Genereaux remains to be seen.

Tying a phone to your steering wheel? You’re following the law — to the letter

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Vancouver police gave this driver a $81 ticket for failing to produce a drivers licence, but not a distracted driving one. (Vancouver Police Department Photo)


​The Vancouver Police Department has sparked controversy online by posting about a driver who had his iPad and iPhone mounted to his steering wheel using string. A clever trick to get around the distracted driving laws, but one that the police officer who pulled him over frowned upon. Since they posted the tweet and photographed that revealed the funny details of this traffic stop, a huge debate has erupted online over what penalty this driver should have faced.
 
The police let him go with an $81 ticket for not producing a license, and a warning about the cell phone mounting system.
 
Here are my thoughts on whether this is actually an offence.

“Inevitable” legal challenge coming for Alberta’s new licence suspension scheme

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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. (Alberta Government Photo)


​This week, Alberta unveiled its proposal for fixing their administrative license suspension law. The Alberta law was declared unconstitutional earlier this year, and the province was given one year to write a new version. Yesterday, they introduced the new version.
 
Bill 29 creates a new regime to deal with the problem of alcohol and drug-impaired driving but, in my view, does not cure the constitutional defects inherent in the legislation.

Impaired driving changes could unfairly punish medical cannabis users, lawyers say


Canada’s proposed overhaul of federal impaired driving rules could unfairly criminalize medical cannabis users, according to an open letter to Ottawa signed by more than 50 criminal defence lawyers.

The letter, which warns that medical marijuana users could be unfairly punished under the proposed system, underscores the challenges to preventing high driving. Experts are divided on just how much THC – the principal psychoactive compound of cannabis – would make someone impaired, and the government is still developing a reliable way to conduct a roadside test.

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