Bail reform

Dec 2, 2016

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Conservative Senator Bob Runciman slams ‘appalling’ Liberal move to kill bail reform bill

There’s a scrap brewing between Runciman and the Liberal government over the bail requirements when a person charged has already a criminal record.  The dispute started in the Senate but the private member’s bill has failed to get government support.  “Bill S-217 is named Wynn’s Bill after St. Albert RCMP Const. David Wynn, who was fatally shot at a casino in January 2015. Aux. Const. Derek Walter Bond was shot and wounded as the pair confronted a suspect in a stolen vehicle.”  The focus of the article may mislead since about 70% of those in jail at any moment have not been convicted of any crime and denial of bail is a major element of jail over-crowding.

National Post – John Ivison
Marijuana report to urge Liberals to strike at the black market

There`s a $7 billion a year black-market business in the current marijuana trade and the key element in the report from committee on the legalization, due publicly Dec 21, (legislation April 2017), appears to want eliminate the competition between the licensed and the black market operations by lowering the price to levels below the street costs.  The age or majority (18 or 19, depending on the province) will likely be the legal buy age.   Canada Post will deliver, and the current 36 producers will be approved and more on application.

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
‘Dire situation’: Senators seek guidance for top court ruling on trial deadlines – Clogged criminal justice system is allowing accused murderers to walk free

The newly independent senate may be flexing some recently acquired muscle in looking for clarification around what constitutes unreasonable delay in hearing criminal cases.  Two murder cases have been thrown out on delay – one for five years delay, the other for four years – and the number of applications for dismissal based unreasonable delay have spiked across Canada.  Delays are not limited to criminal courts.

Toronto Star – Tonda MacCharles
Canadian military to get guidelines on dealing with child soldiers

Former senator and general Romeo Dallaire raised consciousness of the presence in many theatres of war and armed conflict of the child soldier, conscripted by force and threat.  General Jonathan Vance has for the first time issued the CAF Child Soldiers Doctrine, a document applicable to all military engagements by the Canadian Armed Forces.  The “aim is to provide the interim guidance required to address and mitigate the broad challenges posed by the presence of child soldiers in areas where we may undertake missions.”   The document also requires Canadian personnel to report all violations of the guidelines.

National Post – David Akin
Tory leadership hopeful Kellie Leitch wants to legalize pepper spray to help reduce violence against women

If nothing else, the Conservative leadership pursuit is bringing some unusual perspectives to the race.  Currently prohibited under the criminal code, mace or pepper spray would be made legal for self-defence and continue as illegal for other purposes and can be bought now as anti-bear spray in a typical hardware store for about $50 per can.

Toronto Star – Alyshah Hasham
Senior with dementia guilty in death of nursing home resident

76 year old Peter Brooks, an Alzheimer nursing care home patient, has been convicted of second degree murder in the beating death of fellow patient Lourdes Missier and an attack on Joycelyn Dickson.  Brooks used his walking cane and at the time the Crown suggested he was mildly impacted by the Alzheimer`s.  The defence used the NCR (Not criminally responsible) defense.  Sentencing is in January.

Tyee (BC) Common Ground (ACLU- US) – Hugh Handeyside
Does What Happened to This Journalist at the US-Canada Border Herald a Darker Trend?

The recent incidents in Quebec around the surveillance of several journalists reverberates in this incident reported by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  An internationally known Canadian photo-journalist stopped by Canadian Border Patrol and repeatedly interrogated for six hours and then barred entry to the US is complaining that his three cell phones were taken and the SIM cards disturbed after Ed Ou refused to divulge the security codes.  The legal requirement to divulge security codes on cell phones is part of the current debate on Bill C-51 and the proposal of police agencies to force revelation of the codes.

CBC News – Canadian Press
Ontario ombudsman launches investigation into use of solitary confinement in jails – Paul Dubé’s office received over 500 segregation-related complaints in past 3 years

Ombudsman Paul Dubé wants to end solitary confinement in Ontario jails.  The decision follows on the heels of the appointment of former federal Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers to review the correctional services in Ontario prisons, including the practice of administrative segregation or solitary.