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Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic v. Canada, 2014 ONSC 5140

[41] The Applicant’s section 7 challenge uses the 1995 Firearms Act as a baseline against which to measure the licensing and registration system under the Act, and finds the latter lacking. In the Applicant’s characterization, while the regulatory regime that existed from 1995 until the coming into force of the Act in 2012 “provided an essential element in the effective protection for the s. 7 rights of women”, the “Act’s purpose appears to relate primarily to political aims”. To put it in a way that harks back to Professor Sunstein’s point, the Applicant asserts that while the 1995 version of the Firearms Act reflects a neutral constitutional standard, the 2012 Act and its amended version of the Firearms Act reflects a partisan deviation from that standard.

2. R. v. Grant, 2009 SCC 32, [2009] 2 SCR 353

[1] Mr. Grant appeals his convictions on a series of firearms offences, relating to a gun seized by police during an encounter on a Toronto sidewalk. The gun was entered as evidence against Mr. Grant and formed the basis of his convictions. The question on this appeal is whether that evidence was obtained in breach of Mr. Grant’s Charter rights, and if so, whether the evidence should have been excluded under s. 24(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

3. Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72

[1] It is not a crime in Canada to sell sex for money. However, it is a crime to keep a bawdy-house, to live on the avails of prostitution or to communicate in public with respect to a proposed act of prostitution. It is argued that these restrictions on prostitution put the safety and lives of prostitutes at risk, and are therefore unconstitutional.

[2] These appeals and the cross-appeal are not about whether prostitution should be legal or not. They are about whether the laws Parliament has enacted on how prostitution may be carried out pass constitutional muster. I conclude that they do not. I would therefore make a suspended declaration of invalidity, returning the question of how to deal with prostitution to Parliament.

The most-consulted French-language decision was R. c. Turcotte, 2013 QCCA 1916

[5] Dès le début du procès, l’intimé admettait avoir causé la mort des deux victimes au moyen d’un acte illégal et l’acquittement n’était pas une issue possible, ce qu’a d’ailleurs indiqué le juge au jury. Le seul enjeu était donc son état d’esprit au moment des événements. La preuve démontrait qu’il connaissait les effets de l’intoxication au méthanol, de sorte que son intoxication n’était pas qualifiée d’involontaire, au sens juridique du terme, même si, dans son exposé en appel, il la décrit comme étant « moralement involontaire ».

* As of January 2014 we measure the total amount of time spent on the pages rather than simply the number of hits; as well, a case once mentioned won’t appear again for three months.

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