Bench Press 39-2: Unprecedented Sentence of 75 Years

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Justin Bourque, the 24-year-old Moncton man who gunned down three RCMP officers this spring has been sentenced to a 75-year prison sentence. He will not be eligible for parole until he is 99 years old. This is the longest sentence in Canadian history and the most severe penalty since the death penalty was abolished in […]

Bench Press 39-2: Reining on the Parade

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The Calgary Stampede Authority and the Street Church Evangelism Ministries International Foundation (Street Church) have been clashing for years over the Church’s participation in the Calgary Stampede parade. Things came to a head in 2012. The City of Calgary passed an amendment to its Traffic Bylaw stating that “a person must not join or otherwise […]

Bench Press 39-2: Who Calls the Shots on Treatment Orders?

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A judge issued a treatment order for an accused in a psychotic state. The Crown indicated that a bed in one hospital would be available in six days.  The judge ordered treatment “forthwith” at another hospital. Court services delivered the accused to the first hospital and left him in the hallway.  Both hospitals appealed, arguing […]

Bench Press 39-1: Records from Residential Schools

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An Ontario Superior Court of Justice judge has ruled on the question of what should happen to the historical records created by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that examined the Indian Residential Schools. The Chief Adjudicator for the Independent Assessment Process, which looked at compensation for wrongful acts suffered by students at the schools, wanted […]

Truth in Sentencing Act Fails Again

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For the second time this year, courts have found fatal flaws in sections of the federal Truth in Sentencing Act.  In April the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that judges could give 1.5 days credit for every day an offender spends in pre-trial custody when determining a sentence, despite the Act’s requirement that only one […]

Bench Press 39-1: The Facebook Factor

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A Nova Scotia judge has ruled that a plaintiff’s Facebook usage history data can be accessed by a lawyer defending a personal injury claim.  The lawyer was seeking the data under the disclosure of documents rule in the Nova Scotia Civil Procedure Rules.  The Plaintiff was alleging that her ability to concentrate was diminished by […]

Bench Press 38-6: Limits to “Mr. Big” Stings

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Police in Newfoundland suspected that Nelson Hart deliberately drowned his twin daughters but had no proof.  They began an elaborate hoax to recruit Mr. Hart into a fictitious crime ring. After about 15 months of activity, it culminated in a meeting with “Mr. Big” who was presented as the head of the crime ring.  Mr. […]

Bench Press 38-6: A Bride’s Worst Nightmare!

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Melanie Johnson arranged for a Calgary designer and tailor to make four bridesmaid dresses, a flower girl’s dress and a wedding veil for her October 2011 wedding, and to make alterations to her wedding dress.  As the wedding approached, the emails and text messages began to fly.  The bride received her wedding dress two days […]

Bench Press 38-6: Court Decision an “Earthquake”

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Both the land and the legal landscape underwent a transformation recently as a result of a Supreme Court of Canada decision.  The Court ruled for the first time that an Aboriginal nation has title to a remote piece of beautiful land in British Columbia.  The Court wrote: “The nature of Aboriginal Title is that it […]

Bench Press 38-5: Habeas Corpus in Modern Times

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The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled unanimously in favour of a federal penitentiary prisoner who challenged a prison warden’s decision to transfer him from medium to maximum security. Gurkipal Khela used the ancient writ of Habeas Corpus: the right to go before a court to challenge his or her detention.  The Supreme Court stated […]