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This week at the SCC

|Written By Elizabeth Raymer

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear four appeals this week: two criminal, one constitutional, and the last involving a s. 7 Charter challenge by a long-term offender in Saskatchewan who was convicted of walking away from a community correctional centre where he was being supervised.

March 13 – Ontario – Black v. R.

Criminal law: The appellant arrived at the Toronto airport on a flight from Antigua. After he exited the airport, an unclaimed suitcase with luggage tags in his name was taken off the luggage carousel, searched and found to contain 15 kg of cocaine. The appellant denied checking the suitcase on the flight and denied any knowledge of the drugs. The trial judge convicted him of importing cocaine, and the majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Read the Ontario appellate court decision here.

March 14 – British Columbia – R. v. Brassington et al.

Publication ban in effect; sealing order.

Criminal law: In the context of the investigation of the gang-related homicides of six individuals, known as the “Surrey Six”, four RCMP officers were charged with breach of trust, obstruction of justice and fraud allegedly committed in the course of their duties during the investigation, relating to allegations they engaged in inappropriate conduct while managing a protected witness.

Related news stories:
Surrey Six Mounties trial delayed yet again. Why? We can’t tell you; Vancouver Sun

Allegations of weekend sex party, 'sordid' affair between investigator and potential witness rock Surrey Six case; The Province

March 15 – Quebec – Chagnon  v. Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec

Constitutional law: Three security guards working for the National Assembly of Quebec were dismissed by Jacques Chagnon, the president of the National Assembly, following an investigation that revealed that they were using a National Assembly camera to observe activities in the rooms of adjacent hotels. The guards’ labour union filed a grievance contesting their dismissal. The president of the National Assembly raised a preliminary objection to the tribunal’s jurisdiction, arguing that he had acted in the exercise of two constitutional parliamentary privileges: over the management of employees, and the privilege to eject strangers from the National Assembly and its precincts.

Read the Quebec appellate court decision here.

Related news story:
La Cour suprême se penchera sur le congédiement de gardiens de sécurité de l'Assemblée nationale ; Radio-Canada

March 16 – Saskatchewan – Bird v. R.

Canadian Charter (Criminal): The appellant was found to be a long-term offender and was given a sentence of a penitentiary term followed by a period of long-term supervision. Upon completion of his prison term, the appellant took up residence in a community correctional centre, but soon left the centre and did not return. He was apprehended and charged with failing to comply with a condition of his long-term supervision, but argued that the residency requirement was unlawful. The trial judge agreed and dismissed the charge, finding the requirement to be a violation of s. 7 of the Charter on the basis that it obliged the appellant to live in a penal institution even though he had completed his prison term. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and entered a conviction, finding the trial judge had erred in permitting the appellant to collaterally attack the residency requirement.

Read the Saskatchewan appellate court decision here.

Related news story:
Order to stay at Regina halfway house breached man's rights, says judge; Regina Leader-Post


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