Courts, Corrections, Incarceration

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

Bail reform plan well received?

Federal Justice Minister David Lametti’s stated commitment to “targeted” Criminal Code and bail reforms should rebalance what some of his provincial counterparts agreed were “unintended consequences” of 2019 reforms. “We have a broad consensus on a path forward, one based on a set of shared principles and clear objectives,” says Lametti. “That starts with a commitment from […] the federal government to move forward quickly.” [node:read-more:link]

Supreme Court judge defends himself

Supreme Court of Canada Justice Russell Brown, on leave since February 1, says he did nothing to provoke an altercation in Arizona three days earlier which triggered a complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council. Police say a complainant, who at one point was on the verge of being arrested, had accused Brown of being intoxicated and had touched a female companion “inappropriately.” [node:read-more:link]

ICC arrest warrant out for Putin

The International Criminal Court today issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over his alleged responsibility for deporting children from occupied Ukraine to Russia. A similar warrant was issued for his Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova [node:read-more:link]

Residential schools deal approved

A $2.8-billion settlement agreement between the federal government and plaintiffs representing 325 First Nations whose members went to residential schools has been approved by Federal Court of Canada. Justice Ann Marie McDonald said in her March 9 ruling (Docket No. T-1542-12) that the settlement does not release the government from similar future lawsuits. [node:read-more:link]

Guantánamo releases continue

A 48-year-old Saudi held without charge for nearly 21 years by the U.S. at Guantánamo Bay has been repatriated, the latest in a series of similar releases. Ghassan Al Sharbi, whom the Department of Defense said has “physical and mental health issues”, had been compliant in detention and was found to have had no leadership or facilitator roles in al-Qaeda. [node:read-more:link]

Flipping the bird “God-given” right

Acquitting a Montrealer of criminal harassment and threatening a neighbour, a Quebec judge, said it is “not a crime to give someone the finger” and also called the case a bewildering injustice. “Flipping the proverbial bird is a God-given, Charter-enshrined right that belongs to every red-blooded Canadian,” Justice Dennis Galiatsatos ruled. “It may not be civil, it may not be polite, it may not be gentlemanly. Nevertheless, it does not trigger criminal liability.” [node:read-more:link]

Major drug trial collapses

A trial arising from the largest “international drug takedown” in Toronto’s history has fallen apart after all charges were stayed. “No reasons for the stay were provided,” the Public Prosecution Service of Canada confirmed March 7, but a defence lawyer said that “a combination of witness issues, disclosure issues and delays in the progress of the proceedings.” Project Brisa’s six-month investigation led to the seizure of more than a tonne of smuggled drugs and a total of 182 charges against 20 persons [node:read-more:link]

Suspected money-laundering for Putin

Four former executives at the now-closed Swiss branch of Russia's Gazprombank are on trial in Zurich for allegedly helping a Russian musician to launder funds on behalf of Vladimir Putin. Sergei Roldugin, who presents himself as a cellist with a modest income and is a personal friend to the Russian president, is said to have deposited the equivalent of US$50 million in Swiss accounts between 2014 and 2016 with no credible explanation of its provenance. [node:read-more:link]

SCOC judge’s absence prompts complaint

A complaint about the absence of justice Russell brown from the nine-member Supreme Court of Canada bench for more than a month is being reviewed by the Canadian Judicial Council. The court has said only that “we cannot disclose” the reason for Brown’s absence and the CJC also is declining further comment. [node:read-more:link]

Japan suggests U.S. Senator lying

U.S. Senator Mike Lee is getting strong diplomatic pushback to his recent claim that Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi had reneged on a promise to repatriate a naval officer imprisoned in 2021 after a car accident resulted in the deaths of two Japanese citizens. The embassy in Washington has lodged an official complaint, saying that Lee’s remarks were “contrary to the facts and cannot be accepted.” [node:read-more:link]

Belarusian exiles sentenced

Exiled Belarusian politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is dismissing as a “farce” a trial which ended with her being sentenced to 15 years in prison for criticizing her country’s autocratic leader. She is among five opposition politicians sentenced in absentia. [node:read-more:link]

Murderer seeks Kiwi refugee status

Vancouver MP Jenny Kwan says a man convicted of murder in B.C. 20 years ago is falsifying information in his claim for refugee status in New Zealand after arriving from China. Kwan has asked federal cabinet ministers to ensure that New Zealand authorities receive “pertinent factual information pertaining to issues of criminality” in the case. [node:read-more:link]

“Freedom Convoy” solidarity crumbling

An accountant who set up a “Freedom Convoy” not-for-profit corporation to receive contributions, is suing two lawyers who represent other protest organizers, alleging negligence in not warning him of potential legal risks. It’s the latest in a series of disputes as organizers try to defend a potential class-action lawsuit on behalf of Ottawa residents and businesses affected by the blockade of the capital’s downtown core a year ago. [node:read-more:link]

Nobel laureate peace activist jailed

Ales Bialiatski, a Belarusian pro-democracy activist who won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison along with two other activists. Bialiatski was one of the leaders of the democracy movement in Belarus in the mid-1980s, particularly as President Alexander Lukashenko became increasingly authoritarian after his 1994 election [node:read-more:link]

Mountie killer’s sentence reduced

A New Brunswick Court of Appeal tribunal said today that it was “duty bound” to shorten the parole eligibility of Justin Bourque, who killed three RCMP officers in 2014. Citing a 2022 Supreme Court of Canada ruling which struck down a 2011 law as unconstitutional, it cut his eligibility period to 25 years from the 75 imposed by the trial judge. [node:read-more:link]


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