This week at the SCC

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear the following appeals this week including the highly anticipated R. v. Cole, about a high school teacher who was charged after nude photos of a Grade 10 student were found on a laptop issued to him by his regional school board. The photos were ruled inadmissible by the Ontario Court of Appeal a year ago on the principle that Cole had a right to expect his personal files on the computer’s hard drive would remain private.

May 14 — Federal Court — Callaghan v. Chief Electoral Officer of Canada

Administrative law: This case relates to expenses during the 2006 federal elections. The chief electoral officer wouldn’t reimburse certain expenses submitted by some Conservative party candidates because he was concerned that the party might have incurred the advertising costs but then transferred them to the candidates since it had almost reached its spending limit. The candidates successfully challenged the officer’s decision before the Federal Court but the Federal Court of Appeal allowed the appeal.

May 15 — Ontario — R. v. Cole

Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Richard Cole was a computer science high school teacher. One of the school’s information technologists found naked photos of a female student on Cole’s computer, which he had accessed through another student’s email account. He was charged with possession of child pornography and fraudulently obtaining data from another computer hard drive. At trial, the judge determined that Cole’s s. 8 Charter rights had been violated and excluded the evidence. The Court of Appeal then allowed the appeal and remitted the case for trial. There is a publication ban in the case.

May 16 — Nova Scotia — Aucoin v. R.

Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Brendan Aucoin was convicted of possessing cocaine for the purposes of trafficking. On appeal, he argued that his s. 8 Charter rights had been violated when the police officer conducted a pat-down search, which the majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed.

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