This week at the SCC

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear four appeals this week:

Feb. 18 — Federal Court — Divito v. Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Pierino Divito has been a Canadian citizen since 1980. In 1995, he was convicted of serious drug-related charges. After serving his sentence, Divito was extradited to the United States in 2005 to face drug-related charges there and he pleaded guilty. In 2006, he applied for a transfer back to Canada, which was approved by the American authorities but refused by Canada. Divito’s second request was also denied. He claims the denial infringes his mobility rights under the Charter.

Feb. 19 — Ontario —Youvarajah v. R.

Criminal law: Yousanthan Youvarajah and a young person were charged with first-degree murder and tried separately. It’s alleged Youvarajah arranged for the young person to shoot and kill a drug dealer because he had short-changed him on two prior occasions. The young person pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and signed an agreed statement of facts that outlined Youvarajah’s involvement in the shooting. During Youvarajah’s trial, the young person recanted parts of the agreed statement of facts and Youvarajah was acquitted. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. There is a publication ban in the case.

Feb. 20 — Federal Court — Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd. v. R.

Tax law: Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd. operated pulp mills in British Columbia and Alberta. Two of its divisions carried on harvesting activities. Daishowa-Marubeni was obliged to reforest the lands due to its silviculture liabilities but instead passed the reforestation obligations onto purchasers of its harvesting divisions. In its income tax returns, Daishowa-Marubeni classified the silviculture liabilities as long-term and current liabilities. The Province of Alberta argues an assignee of timber rights assumes the reforestation liability corresponding to the forest tenure, and the assignor is no longer liable. In reporting its income for 1999 and 2000, Daishowa-Marubeni didn’t include any amounts of the silviculture liabilities assumed by the purchasers in its proceeds of disposition. In its reassessment, the minister of Revenue estimated silviculture liabilities of $11 million for 1999 and approximately $3 million for 2000.

Feb. 22 — Newfoundland and Labrador — R. v. Taylor

Criminal law: Peter Garfield Taylor was convicted of sexual assault and unlawful confinement after he was accused of locking a child in his shed and inappropriately touching her. Taylor’s son testified he was working near the shed at the time of the alleged incident and the shed door couldn’t have been closed. The trial judge rejected the son’s evidence as a fabrication because he hadn’t disclosed that information to the police. The Court of Appeal set aside the convictions and ordered a new trial. There is a publication ban in the case.

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