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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. R. v. Morris, 2011 ONSC 5142

12. The defence argued that, because the police did not believe Mr. Morris had committed an HTA infraction, they did not have an HTA-related purpose for stopping Mr. Morris’ vehicle. In so arguing, the defence pointed to Officer Ciric’s candid statement that, but for the “Caution”, he would not have pulled over the car. Because the stop was neither “random” as was the case in Hufsky, Ladouceur, Brown v. Durham and Nolet, nor based on an alleged HTA infraction, the defence argues that the cases that support a police right to pull over a car where the existence of both HTA purposes and criminal investigatory purposes is shown (e.g.: Brown v. Durham, Nolet) have no application. Put simply, on this argument, there could not have been a dual HTA/criminal investigatory purpose because there was no legitimate HTA basis for the stop. Mr. Rippell argued that the stop was a “ruse” and was thus based on an improper purpose. Consequently, the defence submitted that the stop violated Mr. Morris’ right to be free from arbitrary detention, and that the subsequent search must be considered unreasonable.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 5

[1] It is a crime in Canada to assist another person in ending her own life. As a result, people who are grievously and irremediably ill cannot seek a physician’s assistance in dying and may be condemned to a life of severe and intolerable suffering. A person facing this prospect has two options: she can take her own life prematurely, often by violent or dangerous means, or she can suffer until she dies from natural causes. The choice is cruel.

[2] The question on this appeal is whether the criminal prohibition that puts a person to this choice violates her Charter rights to life, liberty and security of the person (s. 7) and to equal treatment by and under the law (s. 15). This is a question that asks us to balance competing values of great importance. On the one hand stands the autonomy and dignity of a competent adult who seeks death as a response to a grievous and irremediable medical condition. On the other stands the sanctity of life and the need to protect the vulnerable.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. R v Wagar, 2015 ABCA 327

[4] Having read the Crown’s factum, portions of the trial transcript and having heard Crown counsel’s arguments, we are satisfied that the trial judge’s comments throughout the proceedings and in his reasons gave rise to doubts about the trial judge’s understanding of the law governing sexual assaults and in particular, the meaning of consent and restrictions on evidence of the complainant’s sexual activity imposed by section 276 of the Criminal Code. We are also persuaded that sexual stereotypes and stereotypical myths, which have long since been discredited, may have found their way into the trial judge’s judgment. There were also instances where the trial judge misapprehended the evidence.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was R. c. Rondeau, 1996 CanLII 6516

Dans ce contexte, la mise en liberté provisoire ne doit pas être refusée à toute personne qui risque de commettre une infraction ou de nuire à l’administration de la justice, si remise en liberté, mais uniquement, comme l’expose le par. 515(10) C.cr., s’il y a une «probabilité marquée» qu’elle commette une infraction criminelle ou nuise à l’administration de la justice et, enfin, seulement «si cette ‘probabilité marquée’ compromet ‘la protection ou la sécurité du public» (R. c. Morales, p. 737). Comme le législateur exige que la détention soit nécessaire pour la sécurité du public, «elle n’est (donc) pas justifiée si la détention est seulement commode ou avantageuse» (R. c. Morales, p. 737). Répondant à l’objection que ce critère repose sur l’hypothèse que l’on puisse prédire la récidive, alors que la chose est impossible, le juge en chef Lamer, au nom de la cour, dans l’arrêt Morales, souligne que la prévisibilité exacte ne constitue pas une exigence constitutionnelle et qu’il suffit d’établir la probabilité de dangerosité, qu’expriment les mots «probabilité marquée» au par. 515(10) C.cr.. Le risque sérieux de récidive visé par le législateur au par. 515(10) C.cr. n’est que l’un des éléments pertinents à la solution du litige, soit de décider si la détention est nécessaire pour la protection ou la sécurité du public.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

* 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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