In the News

The Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) – Legalization of Marijuana

POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA – NEW LEGAL PROVISIONS Starting on October 17, 2018, the legalization of recreational use of Marijuana will take effect, by way of the new provisions in the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45). This new law will permit individuals to possess small amounts of marijuana. For example, an adult (someone who is 18 years or older) will be permitted to possess up to 30 grams of the substance. Young persons (individuals between 12 and 18) are permitted to possess [...]

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Civilian initiated Criminal Charges

Is there any way for someone other than a Police Officer to have a criminal charge laid against another individual? The answer is yes. Private citizens, just like police officers, can initiate the process by which someone is charged with a criminal offence.  You would have to attend at a Justice of the Peace office in the jurisdiction in which the offence arose and fill out paperwork to commence the process. Prior to any charge actually being laid, you (or a [...]

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Sentences in Canadian Criminal Law

The sentencing phase of the criminal court process is triggered when either the accused person enters a guilty plea or they are found guilty at a trial.  The purpose of a sentencing hearing is for the court to determine the fit and appropriate outcome or “punishment” for the offence(s) committed.  The principles and purposes of sentencing with respect to adults (i.e. individuals who are 18 years or over) are found in the Criminal Code of Canada, while those that [...]

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Do you have to speak to the Police?

The general rule is that individuals who are being investigated by the police, in addition to witnesses of criminal offences, are under no obligation to answer any questions.  You can politely inform the police that you do not wish to answer any questions.  A lawyer, at this point, can be called and the lawyer can assist in figuring out what the police want from the individual(s).  There are, however, certain narrow exceptions to this rule.  One is found under [...]

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What is a Peace Bond?

General Information A peace bond is a legal agreement (or recognizance) signed by an accused person and a judge that contains a number of rules that a judge considers necessary for the accused person to follow (such as having no contact with one or more individuals). The typical length of the peace bond is 12 months, meaning that the person must comply with the conditions included in it for that duration.  If they do not, they could be charged with [...]

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Absolute and Conditional Discharges

General Section 730 permits a judge to make a finding of guilt but not register a conviction against the offender. By imposing a discharge, the court avoids imposing the full impact of having a criminal conviction on the offender’s record for those who are “of good character, without previous conviction.” A discharge is particularly appropriate in cases where being charged and tried will be sufficient deterrent and denunciation to address the conduct at issue and for those who will suffer disproportionate consequences (usually associated [...]

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Summary Conviction vs Indictable Criminal Offences

If you’ve been charged with a Criminal Offence, you’ve probably come across the terms “Summary Conviction” and “Indictment“.  Often, this legal terminology will appear on a page, usually referred to as a Charge Screening Form, located at the front of your disclosure package. The Charge Screening Form will indicate how the Crown Attorney intends to proceed on your charges – either by Summary Conviction or by Indictment.   But what do these terms mean? There are 3 types of criminal offences: [...]

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