To say that defending sexual assault cases in the current social and political climate is tricky would be an understatement.
Ever since the federal Liberal government announced that it would table legislation legalizing the sale and use of cannabis marijuana for recreational purposes we've taken many calls and met with many people who talk about the legal “grey area” that they believe exists. To be clear, there is no grey area. Marijuana is illegal in Canada.
Granted, it is an easy area of law to be confused about, especially considering the developments in the Vancouver area. So, we will attempt to clear it up for you.
Recently, there have been numerous community-based groups of
volunteers who have decided to take law enforcement into their own
hands. There are several different iterations, but most of them
include the word “creep” in their title. Generally, what these groups
do is go online and pose as underage girls in order to lure people,
who they say, want to meet with underage girls for sexual activity.
Then they set up a meeting with that person and confront them at the
meeting with their video camera and allegations, then post the video
When the police believe that there are reasonable and probable grounds that a person has committed a crime, they will usually make an arrest. After an arrest, the police have the discretion to take one of two courses of action:
1. They may decide to release the accused person without a bail hearing. In this situation an accused person is released from police custody after they sign documents promising to come to court and often to come back to the police station to be fingerprinted (if they were not fingerprinted at the time of their arrest).
As we move toward whatever model of marijuana legalization that the Trudeau government has promised to implement in the spring of 2017, we see a proliferation of medical cannabis retailers in BC, especially throughout Vancouver and the rest of the Lower Mainland. It's obvious to most people, whether out for a walk near a park, beach or "hipster" shopping street, that more and more British Columbians are indulging in smoking pot.
On February 24, 2016 a Federal Court judge in Vancouver struck down the federal government’s regulations stopping licensed personal growers of medical marijuana from growing their medicine, saying they violate the patient’s Charter rights. Before the federal government brought in the new scheme, which mandated that medical marijuana only be grown by large government-regulated marijuana growers and distributed in a manner similar to traditional medicines, small licensed grow operations were allowed to grow on behalf of patients or for their own personal medical needs.
Often, the first contact we have with a new client is a call from that client, or his or her relative or friend, stating that the person is in police custody, having been arrested and charged with an offence. Two issues are certain to arise. First, advising the client that they have the right to remain silent and that anything they say will likely end up being used against them at trial. The second is a discussion about what will happen in the immediate aftermath of the arrest. Will the police be releasing them without charge?
The Christmas/New Years Season should be a time of celebration. Unfortunately, pressures and expectations from family and friends can lead to stress which, if not handled effectively, can lead to poor decision making. The addition of alcohol and other intoxicating substances can sometimes lead to risk taking and sometimes violent acts. Certainly, during the holiday season we see our fair share of domestic assault, impaired driving and shoplifting cases.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government won a majority in the recent federal election. Part of their platform that many Canadians paid particular attention to was their promise to legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana.
As many people are aware, British Columbia court records are available for free public viewing on the Court Services Online (CSO) website: https://justice.gov.bc.ca/cso/esearch/criminal/partySearch.do