Courts, Corrections, Incarceration

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

Alberta leader denies interfering

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says she used “imprecise” language seen as trying to influence Crown prosecutors’ handling of cases of health violations during the pandemic. The opposition the legislature had called for an investigation after Smith had said at least twice that she said she had asked proecutors whether it was in the public interest to pursue charges, but now says that “at no time” had she directly interacted with them. She said all discussions had been with Attorney General Tyler Shandro and his deputy. [node:read-more:link]

British-Iranian man executed

A former Iranian deputy defence minister, Alireza Akbari, who also was a British citizen, has been executed for allegedly spying on behalf of British intelligence. Calling the hanging a “callous and cowardly act . . . by a barbaric regime”, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak imposed sanctions on Iran’s Prosecutor General and temporarily withdrawn Britain's ambassador. At least two other British-Iranians remain in detention, one of whom also holds U.S. citizenship. [node:read-more:link]

Indigenous justice gets boost

Federal justice Minister David Lametti has announced funding for an indigenous legal program he says will enable it to flourish alongside the established justice system. “When justice is part of a community tradition or a nation's tradition, it will work better,” he said in announcing $1.5 million for a Métis-run program. Despite making up only about five per cent of the population, First Nations, Inuit and Métis account for 28 per cent of all federally-sentenced individuals and 32 per cent of the prison population. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta joins firearms lawsuits

The Alberta government has been granted intervenor status in six lawsuits filed in Federal Court against Ottawa’s ban on a range of “assault” weapons. Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro says the federal move “criminalizes hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Canadians . . . simply because the ‘style’ of the firearm was deemed to be aesthetically displeasing by bureaucrats.” [node:read-more:link]

Philippines energy deal ruled illegal

The Supreme Court of the Philippines says the country’s 2005 energy exploration agreement with Chinese and Vietnamese companies, which expired in 2008, was illegal in that its constitution prohibits foreign exploitation of natural resources. The January 9 ruling could complicate efforts by China to restart talks with the Philippines about areas of the South China Sea. [node:read-more:link]

New York gun law upheld for now

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a firearms rights group’s call for the repeal of a New York which limits the right to carry concealed handguns outside the home. There were no public dissents from the bench but Justice Samuel Alito described the decision as procedural “rather than expressing any view on the merits” of the situation which still faces challenges in lower courts. [node:read-more:link]

PS752 families denied asset seizures

The families of victims of the Ukrainian Airlines flight PS752 shot down over Iran three years ago were told by an Ontario Superior Court judge January 10 that they cannot seize Iranian assets in Canada. Justice Grant Dow accepted the federal government’s argument that Iran continues to “enjoy the privileges and immunities” applied under international diplomacy rules. [node:read-more:link]

Election denial erupts in Brazil

Things began to return to normal today in Brasilia after massive crowds breached Congress, the Supreme Court and other buildings, protesting that last October’s election which ousted Jair Bolsonaro was fraudulent. His successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has promised to prosecute protesters for their “barbaric” behaviour which mirrored the similar assault on the U.S. Capitol two years ago by supporters of Donald Trump. [node:read-more:link]

Cold War spy released

Ana Montes, arrested in the U.S. in 2001 for spying on behalf of Cuba, has been released from prison. Now 65, she was working at the time as a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst and Michelle Van Cleave, then head of counter-intelligence said Montes had “compromised everything - virtually everything - that we knew about Cuba and how we operated.” It turned out that she was motivated by ideology, partly her opposition to U.S. activities in Latin America. [node:read-more:link]

Police killings a call for action

Several major Canadian police associations want to identify the root causes of an “unacceptable wave of violence” after five officers were killed on duty in four months. “We are saying today what we are sure most Canadians are feeling: enough is enough,” the Canadian Police Association, the Police Association of Ontario, the Ontario Provincial Police Association and the Toronto Police Association said January 6. Representing some 60,000 personnel, they said “everything will be on the table”, including judicial frameworks and a “growing and chronic” shortage of officers. [node:read-more:link]

International criminals targetting Canada

A surge in automobile thefts across Canada is being tied to international gangs and police services are having trouble stopping them. In Toronto alone, they overtook burglary as the second-most common crime in 2022, jumping to 9,439 from the previous year’s 6,518. Hundreds of vehicles are retrieved and dozens of thieves arrested but Insurance Bureau of Canada investigator Bryan Gast says the problem is that “we’re getting to a point now where globally we’re a source country for stolen vehicles.” [node:read-more:link]

Highest court in Israel challenged

As Israel’s Supreme Court prepared to discuss today a new law which would permit a politician convicted of tax offences to serve in cabinet, Yariv Levin, justice minister in Israel’s new right-wing government and long-time ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced a plan which would effectively hamstring the court. “The time has come to act,” Levin said January 4, six days after his appointment, proposing to allow the Knesset to pass laws the court has effectively deemed unconstitutional and to give politicians a greater say in judicial appointments. [node:read-more:link]

Cop-killer appeals sentence

Jason Burke, a New Brunswick man who shot three RCMP officers in 2014, is appealing his unprecedented three consecutive 25-year prison terms without eligibility for parole. His application to the province’s appeal court, to be considered February 15, cites a Supreme Court of Canada’s decision last May which struck down as unconstitutional a 2011 law that made it possible for judges to extend parole ineligibility in cases of multiple murders. [node:read-more:link]

Meta hit with another hefty fine

The parent corporation of Facebook and Instagram was fined €390m by the Irish Data Protection Commission January 5 for breaking European Union data rules in how it used subscribers’ data for advertising. In November, the IDPC fined Meta, which has set aside €2 billion to cover these and other potential EU penalties, €228 million over a data breach. [node:read-more:link]

An “extremely extraordinary” court ruling

A Nova Scotia court has banished a U.S.-Canadian citizen from Canada in what the presiding judge acknowledges is an “extremely extraordinary” sentencing. Allen Desrosiers, 64, whose only tie to Canada is through his mother, served 23 years in Massachusetts for a range of sexual offences. Shortly after arriving in Nova Scotia last fall, he was charged with criminal harassment for stalking a woman. He told the judge he would not return to Canada if he was sent back to the U.S., where he has spent most of his life. [node:read-more:link]


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