Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are involved in the criminal justice system at disproportionate rates. As set out in the Consensus Statement on Legal Issues of FASD, released by Alberta's Institute of Health Economics in 2013, FASD describes "a range of physical, neurodevelopmental, and behavioural impairments resulting from damage to the brain of the fetus caused by maternal alcohol use during pregnancy." Studies indicate that between 10 to 25 per cen
Recognizing that there is a general concern regarding articling in Canada, the problem seems to be particularly acute with respect to criminal law articles. Working at the law school with students interested in criminal law and recently having been students looking for criminal law articles, we have all encountered the difficulties posed by fewer criminal law positions and are concerned about the potential impact this may have on the future of the criminal bar. We would like
The Increasing Offenders’ Accountability for Victims Act brought significant amendments to the “victim surcharge” under s. 737 of the Criminal Code. Judges are now required to impose a flat surcharge for each count. No longer do judges have the discretion to refrain from imposing surcharges on the grounds that it would constitute an “undue hardship” to the offender – the provision that previously allowed judges to tailor a sentence to the financial means of the offender. The
When accused individuals with First Nations heritage are before the Court, seeking their release on bail, or being sentenced, the Court must take their Aboriginal background into account. The Judge is mandated by s. 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code, and the Supreme Court of Canada pursuant to R. v. Gladue and R. v. Ipeelee, to take into account the systemic challenges First Nations people have had to endure, as a result of colonialism and the actions of the Canadian government,
Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is to assess whether granting an inmate parole presents an undue risk to society. Following no formal rules of evidence, the PBC must determine risk based on an assessment of the offender’s likelihood of reoffending, taking into consideration the nature and severity of the offence. The UBC Innocence Project, and other wrongful conviction efforts, have been involved in cases in which an
The problem of lost or destroyed evidence has long plagued the justice system. In ongoing cases before the courts, when important evidence is lost or destroyed, an accused can seek a remedy at trial or on appeal and must accept the outcome and move on.
However, in the context of post-conviction (or post-final appeal) review work, when evidence is subsequently lost or destroyed, there is no apparent remedy. The phenomenon of missing evidence in this context appears to be a
In R. v. Hart, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the dangers of Mr. Big operations at least as it played out with respect to Mr. Hart. The decision was profound in that the Court deemed it necessary to fashion a new evidentiary rule to specifically address some of the controversy surrounding the Mr. Big end product (incriminating statements). In Hart, the Court held that any statements made by the accused in the context of a Mr. Big operation are presumptively inadmissib