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This week at the SCC

|Written By Elizabeth Raymer

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear five appeals this week, all criminal. Four cases address victim surcharges in criminal cases, and the last is an appeal of the acquittal of a London, Ont. high school teacher of voyeurism.

April 17 – Quebec – Boudreault v. R.

Canadian Charter (Criminal): In September 2013, Alex Boudreault pleaded guilty to four counts relating to various breaches of probation orders. Months later, he pleaded guilty to other counts relating to breaches of a recognizance, breaking and entering dwelling houses, possession of stolen property, assault with a weapon and possession of a prohibited weapon. The Court of Quebec sentenced Boudreault to imprisonment for 36 months and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of $1,400, with the majority rejecting Boudreault’s argument that the victim surcharge provided for in s.737 of the Criminal Code infringed s. 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Duval Hesler C.J. would have allowed the appeal in part to declare s. 737 Cr.C. unconstitutional.

Read the Quebec appellate court decision here.

Related news story:
Supreme Court to hear victim surcharge case; The Canadian Press

April 17 – Ontario – Tinker, et al. v. R.

Canadian Charter (Criminal): The applicants were charged separately for various charges pursuant to the Criminal Code. Each applicant entered guilty pleas at different days. Taking into account the financial circumstances of the applicants, the sentencing judge did not find it to be part of a fit sentence to impose a victim surcharge as part of any of their sentences. The Superior Court judge overturned the sentencing judge’s decision, applying the surcharge to each applicant in accordance with s. 737 of the Criminal Code. The appeal was dismissed.

Read the appellate court decision here.

Related legal brief:
Tinkering With Surcharges; Paralegal Scope Magazine

April 17 – Ontario – Eckstein v. R.

Canadian Charter (Criminal): Companion case to the above. Garrett Eckstein pleaded guilty to the indictable offences of robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and breach of probation. The sentencing judge imposed a sentence of eight months’ incarceration less pretrial custody. Eckstein also faced a mandatory victim surcharge under s. 737 of the Criminal Code of $600, which the sentencing judge gave him 12 months to pay. Eckstein brought an application challenging the validity of s. 737 under s. 12 of the Charter. The appeal was dismissed.

Read the appellate court decision here.

April 17 – Ontario Larocque v. R.

Canadian Charter (Criminal): Companion case to the above. Daniel Larocque pleaded guilty to seven counts: two counts of mischief, three counts of assault, one count of uttering threats and one count of possession of narcotics. Under s. 737 of the Criminal Code, he was liable to a victim surcharge of $700, but the trial judge refused to apply it. The Superior Court overturned that decision. Larocque then challenged the constitutionality of s. 737, arguing that it infringed his rights protected by s. 12 of the Charter.

Read the appellate court decision here.

April 20 – Ontario – R. v. Jarvis

Criminal law: Ryan Jarvis, a high school teacher, was charged with voyeurism under s. 162(1)(c) of the Criminal Code for having used a camera pen to surreptitiously take videos of female students that focused on their breasts and cleavage. Jarvis was acquitted at trial, as the trial judge concluded that the students had a reasonable expectation of privacy, but he was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the videos were done for a sexual purpose. The majority in the Court of Appeal dismissed the Crown’s appeal, finding that the trial judge erred in finding that the videos were taken in circumstances that gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Read the appellate court decision here.

Related news stories:
Appeal court ruling upholding ex-London teacher's voyeurism acquittal sparks outrage; The London Free Press

London high school teacher's acquittal stuns female student secretly filmed; The London Free Press