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Judicial Justice Was Right to Criticize Bail System

The case of an Ontario Justice of the Peace facing discipline for speaking out about a dysfunctional court system is very troubling for the integrity of the justice system. However, it is not so for the reasons one may initially think.

Complaints have been filed against Julie Lauzon, a Justice of the Peace sitting in Ottawa. The complaints were initiated after Lauzon published a scathing editorial in the National Post, criticizing what she called a “broken” bail system in the Ontario courts. In Ontario, justices of the peace preside over bail hearings. They also, as in British Columbia, perform other judicial functions such as reviewing applications for search warrants.

The basis of the complaints was a concern that Ms. Lauzon’s article brought the administration of justice into disrepute, by publicly denigrating the reputation of Crown counsel and thereby also raised a reasonable apprehension of bias against the Crown. The complaints allege that Ms. Lauzon’s article harmed the justice system.

I call foul.

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Weird and Wacky Wednesdays: Volume Seven

In honour of the 4th of July, I decided to make this week’s edition of Weird and Wacky Wednesdays focus on weird and wacky legal cases that are distinctly American. From the Flintstones Vitamins of the rave scene, to the multi-million dollar legal award for “mental anguish” after a botched music festival, to a man who loved his girlfriend just a little too much, this week is a roundup of crazy legal cases that will make you shake your head and say “Only in America.”

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BC Court of Appeal case shows the lack of oversight for mandatory vehicle impoundment

An aspect of the Motor Vehicle Act that rarely gets discussed, but in my opinion deserves to be because it’s hugely unfair, is mandatory vehicle impoundment.

Under the Section 251 of the Act police have the power to impound your vehicle for a variety of reasons, including if they have reasonable grounds to believe you have a driving prohibition, your licence has been suspended, you have been racing or you have been driving at excessive speed (anything more than 40km/hr over the posted speed limit).

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What Tomorrow’s SCC Decision in R. v. Suter Means for Random Breath Testing

Tomorrow the Supreme Court of Canada will be releasing reasons in a highly-anticipated appeal in the impaired driving world.

Richard Suter entered a guilty plea to refusal to provide a sample of his breath, after an accident causing death. He was having an argument with his wife, when he pressed angrily on the gas pedal. His intention was to hit the brake. His vehicle collided with a restaurant patio, striking several people and killing a small boy.

What is interesting about this case is that after Mr. Suter was arrested for impaired driving, he was given legal advice not to provide a sample. It is a criminal offence to refuse to blow, and this legal advice was incorrect. Mr. Suter nevertheless pled guilty, and sentenced to four months jail. On appeal, the Court of Appeal increased the jail term to 26 months. The issue on appeal was whether the incorrect legal advice gave rise to a mistake of law that ought to have allowed Mr. Suter a lighter sentence.

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Weird and Wacky Wednesdays: Volume Six

This week’s roundup of weird and wacky legal cases features heavily cases involving impaired driving and DUI stops. Why? Because drunk people are often always good for a laugh and for creating new or interesting legal analysis. This week, a man chugged a beer at a DUI stop, while another DUI offender claimed his dog was driving. Finally, just to mix it up, we look at the Wendy’s where it truly was “waaaaaay better than fast food.”

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Does a Newfoundland Court Ruling Signal Another Challenge to Polygamy Laws?

In a recent court ruling, a judge in Newfoundland has found that three adults are all the legal parents of a child. And while some court rulings in the past have found that a child can have multiple parents after living in a split home or a mixed family, this ruling is the first of its kind. However, what it leaves open is a tiny crack in the door for another challenge to the polygamy laws in Canada.

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What Does Cannabis Legalization Today Mean for Drivers?

Since the move toward legalization of recreational marijuana began after the last federal election, a lot of discussion has taken place surrounding marijuana-impaired driving. What has never been clear throughout all this discussion is what the existing state of the law is when it comes to cannabis impairment and driving. This has not been assisted by the introduction of Bill C-46, which creates separate offences involving marijuana and driving.

This post breaks down marijuana impaired driving as it currently stands in British Columbia and under federal criminal law.

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