This week at the SCC

This week, the Supreme Court of Canada begins its fall session with six hearings, including Quebec’s appeal of the federal requirement to destroy records from its long-gun registry.

Oct. 6 – Ontario – R. v. Kokopenace

Charter of Rights: Clifford Kokopenace, an aboriginal person from Grassy Narrows First Nation, was convicted of manslaughter. Prior to sentencing, Kokopenace’s trial counsel discovered irregularities in the jury roll, which are alleged to have excluded First Nation on-reserve residents. The respondent’s application for a mistrial was rejected, but fresh evidence was presented on appeal, and a new trial was ordered. The SCC will review whether the majority at the court of appeal erred in ordering a new trial. A sealing order is in place.

Read the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision.

Related news stories:
Manslaughter conviction tossed over lack of aboriginals on jury, CBC

Court overturns manslaughter conviction over lack of aboriginal jurors, The Globe and Mail

Oct. 7 – Nova Scotia – WBLI Chartered Accountants v. Abbott and Halliburton Co. Ltd.

Civil procedure: The respondent, Abbott and Halliburton, brought an action against its accountants, WBLI, for professional negligence. WBLI applied to have the action dismissed summarily, but the respondent called upon a forensic accountant to defend their motion. WBLI challenged the independence of the accountant’s affidavit and applied to have it expunged from the record. The motions judge granted the motion but was overturned on appeal.

Read the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal’s decision.

Related news story:
Supreme Court to rule on independence of expert witnesses, Financial Post

Oct. 8 – Quebec – Quebec v. Canada

Constitutional law: The federal government enacted legislation requiring the destruction of all long-gun registry records collected by the provinces. Quebec has challenged the federal government’s authority on grounds that the act is unconstitutional and contrary to partnership between parties, privacy laws and the structural principle of cooperate federalism. The SCC will review whether the Quebec court of appeal erred in dismissing Quebec’s constitutional challenge.

Read the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision.

Related news stories:
Judge rejects Quebec’s attempt to block Ottawa from destroying gun registry data, Montreal Gazette

Supreme Court to hear Quebec appeal on long-gun registry, The Globe and Mail

Oct. 9 – Federal – Taypotat v. Taypotat

Charter of Rights: The respondent, Sheldon Taypotat, is the 74-year-old chief of the Kahkewistahaw First Nation. In 2009, he lost an election to his nephew, the applicant, Louis Taypotat. In 2011, Sheldon challenged his nephew in another election, but was denied candidacy because the community had adopted the Kahkewistahaw Election Act, which required a Grade 12 education. On appeal, a new election was ordered, which the senior Taypotat won. The SCC will review whether the court of appeal erred in its determination that the Kahkewistahaw Election Act was discriminatory.

Read the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision.

Related news story:
Court rules Kahkewistahaw man unfairly excluded from running for chief, Canadian Press

Oct. 10 – Alberta – Mohamed v. R.

Charter of Rights: After making an illegal u-turn, the appellant was arrested three times: for possession of controlled substances; for trafficking; and for possession of a firearm. Only after the third arrest was he informed of his s. 10(b) Charter rights. The appellant argued that the way the arrests were conducted violated his Charter rights. He was convicted at trial, despite the judge’s finding that the peace officer should have informed him of his rights immediately. The appellant’s appeal was dismissed by the majority.

Read the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision.

Oct. 10 – Quebec – R. v. Jolivet

Criminal law: The Supreme Court of Canada will re-hear the appeal of Daniel Jolivet, who was convicted of four counts of murder in 1997. The SCC’s original ruling, in 2000, overturned the appeal court decision that the trial judge failed to instruct the jury properly. In 2013, a motion to adduce new evidence was filed.

Read the Supreme Court of Canada’s original decision.

Read the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision.

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