On The Wire

Fair, Just and Decent Policing: Does ‘Reasonable Suspicion’ Deliver?

Despite recent claims to the contrary, racial profiling and the over-policing of racalized and low income communities are long-standing features of the Canadian justice system. In law, the "reasonable suspicion" standard governs many initial contacts with the police. In R v Ahmad, the Supreme Court of Canada claimed that this ...
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China’s National Security Law: A Lawyer’s Plea for Hong Kong

On December 19, 1984, the United Kingdom and China signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong. The treaty provides for the administrative region of the semi-autonomous city after the lease of the New Territories expired. On April 4, 1990, the National People's Congress adopted the Basic Law of the ...
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Cold Call Drug Buys and the Law of Entrapment

Random virtue testing and police-manufactured crime sow deep seeds of distrust between the citizen and the state. The doctrine of entrapment defines the constitutional boundaries of lawful police conduct in providing opportunities for unwitting targets to commit crimes. In modern drug investigations, officers commonly place cold calls to alleged drug ...
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Chief Justice Wagner Should Resign From COVID-19 Committee

The Government of Canada has formed a self-described national leadership body called the Action Committee on Court Operations in Response to COVID-19. The committee is co-chaired by the Honourable David Lametti, Attorney General of Canada, and the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada. According to the federal government, ...
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Wanzhou Meng and a Back Room Meeting in Hong Kong

On May 27, 2020, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the British Columbia Supreme Court released the ruling on double criminality in the extradition case involving Huawei Chief Financial Officer Wanzhou Meng reported as United States v Meng, 2020 BCSC 785. The ruling came as events continue to unfold in ...
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Building Mansions in Hell

A criminal conviction for a serious crime can rip a citizen from society for a long time. The fallout can be devastating. Families are torn apart. Children are often traumatized. The impact of incarceration may be generational. The damage to reputation is irreparable in the digital age where the online ...
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An Invitation to Human Rights Law

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the national unemployment rate in Canada close to eight percent. Higher in Alberta. Many junior lawyers have lost associate positions during the economic downturn and numerous recent law graduates search for articling positions in vain. The forecast is bleak. And many ponder - where to ...
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The Limits of Starting Point Sentencing in Alberta

What is the nature of starting point sentences and to what extent may appellate courts intervene to enforce them? This issue recently split the Alberta Court of Appeal in R v Godfrey and was clarified earlier this month by the Supreme Court of Canada in R v Friesen. 1. Introduction ...
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Housed Alone

That is how Wayne Wilcox began the description of his solitary confinement in the Edmonton Remand Centre, the largest prison in Canada. "I am housed alone," he said in a court filing. One hour a day free time from a seven by eight foot cell. No gym. No yard. A ...
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Accessing Seized Funds for Legal Fees

When the police identify property believed to be proceeds of crime, the Criminal Code allows them to seize or restrain it. They can take anything from the change in someone’s pocket to all of their assets. While the aim of such seizures is to swiftly deprive criminals of their ill-gotten ...
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