March 2018

Kyla Lee interviewed on CKNW: The Federal Liberals are plotting an audacious justice system overhaul, and do the laws around impaired driving (and appeals) need to change?

The Liberal government has introduced legislation to overhaul the criminal justice system.  If passed, this bill would eliminate the use of peremptory challenges, which allow lawyers to reject jury candidates during selection.  The bill includes other measures aimed at tackling court backlogs plaguing the criminal justice system, including by restricting the use of preliminary inquiries.

The bill will also address a Liberal campaign promise to crack down on intimate partner violence, including by reversing the onus on bail for those previously convicted of violence against a current or former spouse, common-law partner or dating partner.

Breaking Down Police Testimony by Affidavit

When the Federal Liberal Government introduced Bill C-75 with much fanfare on March 29, 2018, it is doubtful they expected the backlash they received from the legal community and the public at large. The Bill proposes sweeping and significant changes to the criminal justice system, but fails to incorporate promises apparently long-since-forgotten from the campaign trail. There is no reform of mandatory minimum sentences. There is little respect for the Charter or due process.

Stories quickly emerged in every major and minor media outlet, criticizing the Bill for its elimination of preliminary inquiries, reversal of the onus provisions in certain bail hearings, and removal of peremptory challenges in jury selection. Unfortunately, the news media’s focus on these three significant (and by no means unimportant) changes diverted attention away from some of the much more insidious aspects of Bill C-75.

Late in the evening that day, I sat down to take a stab at understanding this omnibus monstrosity. I penned a, perhaps sarcastic, 2400 word piece criticizing the major changes and some more minor ones. But even in 2400 words I could not break down the issues well enough.

So I’m going now to attempt to explain why, in my opinion, the changes in relation to affidavit evidence from police in criminal cases is one of the most deserving of attention and deserving of criticism.

Omnibus Bill C-75 Does More Bad Than Good

In a deliberately-timed move, the Liberal Government has introduced yet another phase of its absurd legislation, aimed at chipping away what fundamental principles of justice remained intact after Bills C-45, C-46, and C-51. Bill C-75, introduced on Thursday, is an omnibus bill that is comprised of numerous sweeping and devastating changes to the justice system.

Oh, sure, there are some nice things in the Bill. There is the ability restored to judges to use discretion in imposing a victim fine surcharge. And there are additional provisions to allow for judges to consider Indigenous ancestry or marginalization for other reasons in sentencing accused individuals. There are provisions that allow for easier changes to bail or probation conditions where they are not manageable for an individual. Well, those changes are fraught with problems best suited for another blog post.

The purpose of the Bill, as touted by Jody Wilson-Raybould, is to address issues that contribute to delay in our justice system and to provide needed assistance to the most vulnerable people in our population.

For the reasons I outline in this blog post, the Bill fails in those goals.

Kyla Lee on Roundhouse Radio: Bill C-46 opens the government up for a constitutional challenge

As the government prepares for its cannabis legislation to be passed, Bill C-46 — the government’s new impaired driving bill — will institute a whole new framework for marijuana impaired driving and revamp existing frameworks for alcohol impaired driving by adding random breath tests, salvia tests, and even, blood tests.

Acumen Law Corporation lawyer Kyla Lee talks to Stirling Fox on Roundhouse Radio about Bill C-46 and why the bill opens the government up to constitutional challenge.

Vancouver lawyer wants solicitor general to change impaired driving laws he criticized in opposition

​A Vancouver lawyer is calling on B.C.’s solicitor general to walk the walk when it comes to making changes to the province’s impaired driving laws.

In 2010, the province introduced new, tougher laws around drinking and driving. The Immediate Roadside Prohibition program gives police the ability to issue fines and driving prohibitions to drivers who blow a “warn” or “fail” in a roadside breath test, or who refuse to give a breath sample.

Amanda Siebert: Why cannabis users should be afraid of Bill C-46

A few weeks ago, I tweeted something that would, unwittingly, ruffle a few feathers.

“Someone needs to tell the guy ashing a joint out of his sports car sun roof that his days are numbered,” I wrote. “Wonder if he’s heard of C-46?”

I’ll be straight up: It was deleted out of sheer embarrassment after a few people pointed out that it came across as a moral assessment of the driver’s choice to smoke a joint while at the wheel.

While my intention—to point out that cops across the country are preparing for an all-out roadside offensive against drivers like the one I saw—was poorly conveyed, a follower noted that instead of making it sound like the driver deserved what was coming to him, I ought to “use my platform as a journalist” to discuss the bill’s flaws.

Kyla Lee interviewed on Global News at 6: Effectiveness of new red light speed cameras questioned, ICBC won’t get speed cameras revenue


Attorney General David Eby said money from the forthcoming red light speed camera program won’t be going to fix ICBC’s financial crisis, instead the proceeds will be directed to municipalities that have the cameras. 

There are many critics of these speed camera programs. BC driving advocates are concerned politicians will use the ticketing system to turn police departments into revenue-generation for the government. However, these cameras also present a legal problem regarding how reliable they are at proving a driver was going over the speed limit. 

BC Court of Appeal Inadvertently Answers Burning Question about Marijuana Legalization

One of the biggest questions that defence lawyers have about marijuana legalization has to do with marijuana amnesty and sentencing. Individuals who possess marijuana for personal use are still being charged in Canada. Their charges are still going to court.
Despite the fact that the Government has announced their intention to legalize marijuana, people are still leaving court with criminal records for marijuana offences, and some are receiving jail sentences.

​Frankly, I find this practice appalling.

Does the BC Government Care About Making Immediate Roadside Prohibition Reviews Fair?


Mike Farnworth (BC Government Photo)

In the past, I have written several blog posts about delays in rendering decisions in Immediate Roadside Prohibition review cases. My complaints have been reasonable: drivers are not receiving their Immediate Roadside Prohibition review decisions in a timely manner, and are left in the dark about why the delay is occurring. 

From a lawyer’s perspective, this is frustrating for two reasons. First, I feel that I am doing a disservice to my clients as I am not able to provide them with information they need in their cases. I cannot tell them why there is no decision, or what this means, or whether the extension they’ve been given will be the last extension or the first in a series. Second, it’s frustrating to know that the law requires transparency in decision-making but that drivers who are facing this review process do not receive that. 

Kyla Lee “Dismantled” Scholar’s Analysis on Random Breath Tests: Senator


Conservative Sen. Denise Batters commented on Acumen Lawyer Kyla Lee’s submissions on Bill C-46. (Senate of Canada)

The Trudeau government’s proposed alcohol-and drug-impaired driving legislation violates the Charter and will clog already overburdened courts with Charter challenges from coast to coast to coast, says Senate Liberal Serge Joyal, the influential chair of the red chamber’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee.
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