Courts, Corrections, Incarceration

Anything related to the court system, sentencing of offenders, or incarceration issues

Homeless protected by courts

Citing similar cases in British Columbia, an Ontario Superior Court judge has denied a municipality’s application to clear out an encampment of homeless people. The Region of Waterloo had asked the court to find that some 50 people in a Kitchener were violating trespass laws but Judge Michael Valente ruled that there is a constitutional right for a person to shelter themselves if accessible indoor spaces aren’t available. [node:read-more:link]

Saudis stepping up executions

Saudi Arabia’s capital punishment rate has nearly doubled since 2015, according to reports by international and Saudi human rights groups. They said the death penalty, often carried out in secrecy has been used routinely to silence political dissidents and protestors, including detainees who were children when they were arrested. [node:read-more:link]

Ontario jail suicides worrisome

Forty-one suicides in Ontario’s correctional facilities in 2021, nearly double the previous year, have prompted calls for Solicitor General Michael Kerzner to set up a “dedicated independent oversight body.” Some 40 advocacy and other groups say in a letter it would “ensure timely reporting on deaths in custody and assist in taking urgent action.” [node:read-more:link]

Iran critic’s murder plot unveiled

The U.S. Justice Department of Justice has charged three suspects in a foiled plot to kill Iranian-American journalist and human rights advocate. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Iran had previously targeted the critic. [node:read-more:link]

Mandatory minimum sentences upheld

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that mandatory minimum sentences for convicted criminals who use firearms are constitutionally valid. In handing out its decision, the court was ruling on separate appeals (Docket Nos. 38438 and 39338) by two Alberta men sentenced for armed robbery. [node:read-more:link]

Boeing denies hiding 737 information

A Texas court preparing to hear accusations that Boeing concealed flight control systems information in the aftermath of 737 Max jetliner crashes in October 2018 was told by the company January 26 that nothing had been withheld. Relatives of the 346 victims want to reopen what they say was a “sweetheart agreement” with the Justice Department in 2021 whereby Boeing paid $2.5 billion in fines and compensation. [node:read-more:link]

New 737 Max challenge

The Boeing 737 Max crashes in October 2018 off Indonesia and February in Ethiopia killed all 346 crew and passengers and led to a 22-month global fleet grounding as investigators uncovered flaws in the flight control systems. The company avoided a trial by agreeing to pay US$2.5 billion in fines and compensation but now the victims’ families want a Texas court to reopen the settlement. [node:read-more:link]

Quebecker faces 22 years in prison

A Quebec woman accused of mailing ricin to Donald Trump in 2020 pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington today and agreed to a sentence of nearly 22 years. Pascale Ferrier, 55, of Saint-Hubert, who was arrested at a border crossing in 2020, also pled guilty to eight charges related to similar offences against law enforcement and corrections officials in Texas in 2019. [node:read-more:link]

Dutch suit against Russia proceeds

The European Court of Human Rights has agreed to hear a case brought by the government of The Netherlands against Russia over the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 as it overflew Ukraine in 2014. A missile fired by Moscow-backed Ukrainian separatists was confirmed as the cause and the suit argues that Russian disinformation about its role violated the human rights of victims’ families. [node:read-more:link]

Telecom takeover clears penultimate hurdle

Before hearing arguments January 24, Federal Court of Appeal David Stratas dismissed the Competition Bureau's effort to overturn Competition Tribunal approval of Rogers Communications’ $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications. The takeover now needs only only cabinet approval to proceed. [node:read-more:link]

Telecom takeover plan in court

The Federal Court of Appeal today heard arguments on whether the proposed Rogers Communications $20-billion bid for Shaw Communications can proceed. The Competition Bureau opposes the deal on grounds that it will mean less competition and potentially increased costs to consumers who already pay some of the highest rates in the world, but that argument was rejected by the Competition Tribunal. [node:read-more:link]

ISIS repatriations a thorny issue

The legal and safety implications of a Federal Court order to the government to repatriate four alleged Canadian members of ISIS are quickly becoming an issue for debate at home. The Ottawa lawyer who represented the men and other Syrian-held captives says the government can prosecute them if they’re held responsible for terrorist activitities but a former CSIS officer says an effective prosecution needs evidence and witnesses in Syria. Moreover, says Phil Gurski, “the supporters of these men and women have portrayed them as victims that need to be rescued.” [node:read-more:link]

$2.8-billion class action payout

The federal government has agreed to pay $2.8 billion to settle a 2012 class-action lawsuit by 325 First Nations seeking compensation for the loss of language and culture caused by its residential school system. Subject to final discussions and court approval, the money will be paid to an independent non-profit trust. [node:read-more:link]

Israeli government sparks protests

Thousands of protesters packed the streets of Tel Aviv on the weekend, the latest in a series of protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition government which is widely acknowledged as the most right-wing and religious-nationalist in Israel’s history. A key issue is a proposed shift of legal power to the government from the courts but critics also say Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, is trying to rein in the judges in an attempt to avoid a jail sentence. [node:read-more:link]

PM accused of “frontal attack”

Quebec Premier François Legault says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been “attacking Quebec's democracy and people” by proposing to limit the use of the notwithstanding clause in the Constitution. Calling it a “frontal attack” on Quebec’s ability to protect its collective rights, Legault says he’s considering a referral to the Supreme Court of Canada. [node:read-more:link]


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