Courts, Corrections, Incarceration

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

RCMP officer faces trial on drug charges

An RCMP officer in western Newfoundland has been charged by the province’s Serious Incident Response Team with possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. The SIRT began its investigation last summer after the officer’s activities were reported by the RCMP. [node:read-more:link]

U.K. firm liable in Beirut blast

Two and a half years after a massive dockside explosion in Beirut killed more than 200 persons and injured more than 6,000 others, a British court has ruled that a London-based company which chartered the ship that delivered the ammonium nitrate in 2013 is liable. Court documents show that senior Lebanese political, judicial and security officials were aware of the risk but had not taken action. [node:read-more:link]

Legal win for indigenous women

A Federal Court of Canada has restored the right of women to vote at an Alberta First Nation. In his 69-page ruling (Docket Nos. T-800-21 and T-808-21), Justice Paul Favel not only struck down a ban on members in common-law relationships from candidacy but also one which disenfranchised women whose mother, grandmother or great-grandmother had married a non-status man. [node:read-more:link]

Brothers released from Guantánamo

Two brothers from Pakistan have been released without charge and repatriated after two decades in Guantánamo Bay. Abdul and Mohammed Ahmed Rabbani, who were arrested as"terrorists" in Pakistan in 2002, claim to have been tortured by CIA officers in Afghanistan before they were shipped to the U.S. military prison. [node:read-more:link]

Another “Gitmo” detainee freed

Pakistani national Ahmed Rabbani, once described as one of “the worst terrorists” in the world, has been repatriated from Guantánamo after more than 20 years without charge. He had been handed over by Pakistani officials in September 2002 in return for a bounty despite his insistence that he was only a taxi driver. His British human rights lawyer says his treatment is more evidence of how the U.S. intelligence and military communities had mishandled most Guantánamo detainees’ cases. [node:read-more:link]

Cocaine dealer unhappy with fine

Convicted cocaine dealer Abdallah Abdelrazzaq is challenging a court-ordered fine on constitutional grounds, claiming that the penalty in lieu of forfeiting the proceeds of his crime is cruel and unusual punishment. He was arrested in Ontario in 2019 after selling cocaine to an undercover police officer and, after winning one appeal and losing another, his lawyer says he is prepared to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada. [node:read-more:link]

Supreme Court judge takes leave

Supreme Court of Canada Justice Russell Brown, generally considered a strong voice for provincial rights, has taken a leave of absence from the nine-member bench. It comes only a few weeks before the court is scheduled to review environmental legislation which enables the federal government to regulate a wide range of industrial projects despite strong objections by Alberta. The court declined to explain the decision by the 57-year-old jurist who was appointed in 2015. [node:read-more:link]

Veterans Affairs stiffs RCMP pensioners

Canada’s Veterans Ombud is challenging Veterans Affairs Canada’s arbitrary reduction in the pensions of some retired RCMP officers and civilian employees because they received a one-time lump sum compensation for many years of “horrific” on-the-job abuse and harassment which drove many into early retirement. [node:read-more:link]

ISIS bride loses citizenship appeal

Shamima Begum, who travelled to Syria from Britain as a teenager in 2015 to join the Islamic State in Syria has failed in her latest bid to regain citizenship. A special tribunal dismissed the 23-year-old’s appeal February 22 despite arguments that she was trafficked to be a child bride, but her case is still subject to further challenges of Britain’s appellate and supreme courts. [node:read-more:link]

ISIS “facilitator” pleads guilty

Ottawa resident Awso Peshdary, who pleaded guilty February 23 to terrorism by facilitating Islamic State recruitment efforts, was sentenced to 14 years less time served, which means he will be released on probation in late 2024. The Crown and Peshdary’s lawyer had agreed to what Ontario Superior Court Justice Julianne Parfett called a “fit” penalty even though his activities were “horrific.” Peshdary actually thanked the RCMP for arresting him. [node:read-more:link]

Former Mexican minister convicted

Genaro Garcia Luna, a former Security of Public Secretary in Mexico’s cabinet, was found guilty in U.S. federal court in New York February 21 of accepting bribes to protect drug cartels. Hia lawyers, who plan to appeal, say the charges were based on lies from criminals who wanted to punish him and protect themselves by helping prosecutors. [node:read-more:link]

Brit faces extradition to U.S.

A Spanish court has approved the extradition to the U.S. of a British man wanted by California and New York courts to face 14 charges of fraud and extortion, among other things, from hacking the social media accounts of executives, politicians and celebrities. Joseph James O’Connor, who can appeal the ruling which is subject to cabinet approval, was arrested in July 2021. [node:read-more:link]

Attacker’s house sold to support victim

A B.C. Supreme Court judge (Docket No. 2021 BCSC 210) has ordered the sale of a house formerly owned by a man who left a beating victim permanently brain-damaged in 2016. Sentenced to seven years in October 2021, the attacker had “sold” the house to his parents for $1 in an attempt to avoid civil action by the victim’s family who now will receive the proceeds of an eventual sale. [node:read-more:link]

British embassy spy jailed

A London court today sentenced a former guard at the British embassy in Berlin to 13 years in prison for putting diplomats at “maximum risk” by spying for to Russia. David Ballantyne Smith, arrested at his home near Berlin in August 2021 after an MI6 sting operation and extradited a year later, admitting spying but wanted to “teach the embassy a lesson” because he felt badly treated at work. [node:read-more:link]

Faster wrongful conviction reviews

Draft legislation introduced in the House of Commons today as Bill C-40 would make it easier and faster for people who may have been wrongfully convicted to have their cases reviewed by an independent commission. “We need a system that moves more quickly, both for people applying as well as for victims and the process needs to be independent,” said Justice Minister David Lametti. Reviews currently take years to complete. [node:read-more:link]


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