A description of the offence of Assault Causing Bodily Harm

IntroductionAssault causing bodily harm is a criminal offence found under s. 267(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada. It is a “hybrid” criminal offence, meaning that the Crown can choose to proceed either by Summary Conviction or by Indictment. The maximum sentence is 10 years of jail if the Crown proceeds by Indictment, and 18 months in jail if the Crown elects by Summary Conviction. There are no minimum punishments associated with the offence. The lowest [...]

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Self-Defence – A Simplified Explanation of the Defence in Canadian Criminal Law

Criminal lawyers, including myself, will at some point in time have a client tell them that their actions amounted to “self-defence”. However, their understanding of what self-defence is can be vary different than what Canadian criminal law says it is. So, what is self-defence?LEGAL OVERVIEWSelf-defence is what is considered a “justification” for what would otherwise be criminal wrongdoing. Section 34 of the Criminal Code of Canada sets out what Parliament has defined as self-defence, [...]

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Increases in Car Thefts / Jackings in Toronto – A Criminal Law Perspective

THE RISE IN CAR JACKINGSYou have probably come across countless news articles about the rise of car thefts in Toronto and the GTA in general in recent months. The car jackings make headlines, due to not only the frequency with which they are occurring, but also their violent nature.Many have occurred in broad day light, and public figures, such as Toronto Maple Leafs player Mitch Marner have been victims.A recent arrest of a 17 and 19 year old [...]

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New Pardon Reform Bill – Bill-C36

The Liberal government has introduced a bill – Bill C-36 – which seeks to introduce significant reforms in the area of pardon law. The bill, as it stands, is nowhere near becoming law and is only at the first reading. Moreover, using history as a benchmark, one may wonder if the bill will make it anywhere close to becoming law in Canada.If it ever does, there are some key changes to the law surrounding pardons that would [...]

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How to Find Your Court Date Online

For individuals who don’t have criminal lawyers, all court dates must be attended, otherwise there is a risk that a bench warrant could be issued for your arrest.A useful website operated by the government offers a list of all Ontario Court of Justice court dates in every court jurisdiction across Ontario for easy access..You can access two days in advance, but not further out. If your court date is more than two days away, you would have to [...]

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Judicial Referral Hearings – What Are They?

The enactment of Bill C-75 introduced a new type of criminal court hearing that could lead to a significant reduction in the number of certain types of criminal charges entering in the court system.Through the amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada, and in particular the addition of s. 523.1, the police or the Crown can decide to not proceed with formal criminal charges in certain circumstances, in exchange for having an accused’s release conditions reviewed by a Judge.The [...]

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Criminal Background Checks in Ontario

There are three types of criminal background checks in Ontario, based on a law that took effect in 2015 called the Police Record Check Reform Act. These include a Criminal Record Check, a Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check and a Vulnerable Sector Check.Before a criminal lawyer completes a criminal case, they often will be asked by their client whether the case, or the case outcome, could appear on a criminal background check. It is [...]

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Undertaking to Peace Officers – What Are They and What Legal Implications Arise?

Criminal Lawyers are well aware of what an Undertaking to a Peace Officer is, and what legal implications they have, but not all individuals who sign them have the same appreciation of the document.  These documents carry significant legal importance and are usually one of the few things a Criminal Lawyer will review. In short, an Undertaking to a Peace Officer is a type of release that the Police place an accused.  By signing an Undertaking, the accused agrees to [...]

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What is Self Defence in Canadian Criminal Law?

Self Defence is a legal defence (known as a justification) to criminal wrongdoing.  The law surrounding this defence was amended in 2012, and is now found under section 34 of the Criminal Code of Canada.    The current law simplied the old regime, which contained 4 separate sections of the Criminal Code dedicated to the defence (and now it is one). Under new section 34, persons will not be guilty of an offence if:they believe on reasonable grounds that force, [...]

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‘Stripping away’ Charter rights: Ontario’s problem with strip searches

Published article on The Lawyer’s Daily (written in collaboration with Sanja Mavrak, Criminal and Civil Lawyer) – August 22, 2019 “Almost two decades after the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released its landmark ruling in R. v. Golden [2001] 3 S.C.R. 679 in which the court set out the legal parameters surrounding justifiable strip searches, police forces across Ontario are continuing to have difficulty with adhering to these legal precepts. In fact, the lack of conformity to the rules set out [...]

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