This week at the SCC

This week, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear six appeals, including a couple of criminal appeals relating to questionable convictions, as well as an appeal involving the collective bargaining rights of teachers.

Nov. 10 – Quebec – Hinse v. Canada

Crown liability: In 1964, Réjean Hinse was convicted of robbery and sentenced to 15 years. He claimed he was a victim of a miscarriage of justice. In 1997, he was acquitted by the SCC. He then brought actions against the town of Mont Laurier, the Attorney General of Quebec and the Attorney General of Canada. A settlement was reached with Mont Laurier and Quebec. Against the Attorney General of Canada, Hinse alleged systemic contributory fault and claimed damages of nearly $13 million. The Superior Court ordered the federal AG to pay $5.8 million. The Court of Appeal found Hinse had not established fault on the part of federal authorities but set aside the decision.

Read the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news story:
Wrongfully convicted man wins Supreme Court hearing on compensation, CBC

Nov. 12 – British Columbia – British Columbia Teachers' Federation v. British Columbia Public School Employers Association

Collective agreements: The B.C. Teachers’ Federation filed a grievance alleging the association had failed to provide supplemental employment benefits to birth mothers in relation to maternity leave and parental leave. It alleged that this was discriminatory conduct contrary to the Human Rights Code and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The arbitrator allowed the grievance, but the Court of Appeal set aside that decision and dismissed the grievance.

Read the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news stories:
What you need to know about labour strife between B.C. and its teachers, The Globe and Mail

B.C. school strike could drag on until September as talks fail, Vancouver Sun

Nov. 13 – British Columbia – Henry v. R.

Charter of Rights: Ivan Henry was convicted in 1983 on 10 sexual offence counts, was declared a dangerous offender, and remained incarcerated for almost 27 years. In October 2010, he was found to be wrongfully convicted and was acquitted. Henry sought damages against Crown prosecutors and successfully sought leave to amend his pleadings to include new charges against prosecutors. On appeal, the amendments were struck down on the basis that such amendments require evidence of malice. A publication ban is in place.

Read the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news stories:
Ian Mulgrew: City of Vancouver says wrongfully convicted Ivan Henry not ‘innocent’, The Vancouver Sun

After 27 years in jail, B.C. court says man was wrongly convicted, The Globe and Mail

Nov. 14 – Manitoba – R. v. Grant

Criminal law: Mark Edward Grant was convicted of the second-degree murder of a 13-year-old girl. At trial, a voir dire was held where Grant requested whether he could cite evidence of an alleged unknown third-party suspect. The trial judge refused to admit the new evidence. The appeal court overturned that decision, ruling that the judge had erred and should have allowed the new evidence to go to the jury.

Read the Manitoba Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news stories:
Accused killer in Derksen case has long history of sex crimes, Winnipeg Free Press

Supreme Court to hear appeal on Mark Grant retrial, Winnipeg Free Press

Nov. 14 – Ontario – Wills v. R.

Criminal law: The appellant was convicted of robbery with a firearm, but the victims of the home invasion could not identify him, given that the perpetrator was wearing a mask. The Crown’s evidence relied on circumstantial evidence, inconclusive DNA evidence and a baton found in the appellant’s home that couldn’t be connected to the home invasion. The appellant appealed on grounds that the verdict was unreasonable. The appeal was dismissed.

Read the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision

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