Below is a list of recent news items and updates from the criminal justice scene in Ottawa and surrounding communities. The articles feature commentary about recent trends in Court, analysis of new and upcoming legislative amendments relating to criminal law, as well as case of interest from the area.
A taxi driver was acquitted of sexual assault before a judge and jury in Ottawa after a devastating cross-examination of the complainant by criminal defence lawyer Paul Lewandowski.
A discussion about the concept of false allegations - where a client is falsely accused of a criminal offence - and the impact it has on the criminal justice system. Mr. Lewandowski discusses how difficult it can be to separate the false accusations from the legitimate ones, and how important your choice in lawyer is to this end.
A brief analysis of police misconduct and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the tools that can be used to defend a case or mitigate sentence.
A discussion concerning reverse-onus provisions, that mandate that an accused "show cause" why they should be released from bail pending their trial, when a firearm offence is alleged.
A criminal defence lawyer's update of the law of impaired driving, over 80, refuse to provide sample and DUI. The analysis includes recent trends in the Ottawa criminal justice courts.
An overview of the bail review process, and how a client can obtain a variation of their conditions of release.
BREACH OF RECOGNIZANCE
A discussion about breaches of recognizance and the consequences a breach can have on the outstanding substantive charge. Systemic pressures on an accused are analysed, with a view from sparing the clients from a systemically coerced plea.
A criminal defence lawyer's guide on how a successful guilty plea is conducted in the Ontario Court of Justice.
An examination of identify theft in Canada, and a discussion of how Ottawa has become known as a "hot spot" for these types of crimes. An overview of the types of criminal penalties available at law on these types of crimes is also included.
Commentary regarding the dangerous offender and long-term offender provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada.
A succinct guide to the crime of refusing to provide a breath sample, and the ramifications a conviction can have on even a first time offender. A discussion of the evidentiary tools available to the police - and the ways to counteract them - is included.
An overview of the legal concept of "reasonable doubt."
INTERACTING WITH POLICE
A defence lawyer's guide on how to interact with the police.
The concept of mandatory minimum sentences is explained. Their increasing use and their dubious utility is discussed.
A guide to conducting bail reviews in the Superior Court of Justice.
With Legal Aid budgets frozen, more and more impecunious clients are finding themselves before the court without a lawyer. This posting discusses the unfortunate fate many of them suffer as self-represented, first time offenders pit against an experienced Crown.
The rape shield laws prohibit the introduction of many clearly relevant pieces of information on sexual assault cases. This entry discusses how impeachment fodder is obtained to ensure successful cross-examination of a complainant, ensuring the truth isn't lost to legislated blindness.
A discussion about the legal concept of "voluntariness" and how it affects the admissibility of a statement made by an accused.
SEARCHING CELL PHONES
A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision enables the police to search the contents of a cellular phone upon arrest. This entry discusses the effect this will have on privacy rights as well as some of the precautions every private citizen should take in light of this flawed decision.
In certain cases, a young offender can be sentenced as an adult. This entry discusses some of the relevant legislative provisions in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and how they have traditionally been applied in Court.
A discussion about some of the protections in place within the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and how the legislation has a rehabilitative, as opposed to punitive, focus.
A criminal lawyer discusses how to testify in court and some techniques that will best ensure that the truth is presented in a way that makes sense to the judge.
VICTIM FINE SURCHARGE
An overview of a constitutional challenge to the controversial Victim Fine Surcharge legislation, and Paul Lewandowski's thoughts on how the evidence is likely to demonstrate that the provisions currently in place are unconstitutional.