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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. Petrolo, 2020 ONCJ 36 (CanLII)

[41] With respect to mens rea, this is a specific intent offence. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused did in fact intend to act in a way tending to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice. A simple error of judgment will not be enough. An accused who acted in good faith, but whose conduct cannot be characterized as a legitimate exercise of the discretion, has not committed the criminal offence of obstructing justice.[15]

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. R v Reilly2019 ABCA 212

[49] The Crown’s central point was that the level of Crown misconduct evidenced by the shortcomings of the new bail system during the transitional phase did not disclose a level of Crown misconduct justifying a stay. The 24 hour violations were unacceptable, but during the transitional period the level of Crown misconduct did not require a stay to “dissociate the justice system from the impugned state conduct going forward”: Babos at para. 39. It is true that at the time of the respondent’s detention the new system had only been in operation in Edmonton for about five months, and that is a relevant consideration in this appeal. It would not be correct to say, however, that changes within the criminal justice system automatically justify breaches of Charter rights during the transitional period. While the government searches for long-term systemic solutions, it has an obligation to identify short-term transitional solutions that will minimize Charter breaches.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Jones v. Tsige, 2012 ONCA 32 (CanLII)

[71] The key features of this cause of action are, first, that the defendant’s conduct must be intentional, within which I would [page262] include reckless; second, that the defendant must have invaded, without lawful justification, the plaintiff’s private affairs or concerns; and third, that a reasonable person would regard the invasion as highly offensive causing distress, humiliation or anguish. However, proof of harm to a recognized economic interest is not an element of the cause of action. I return below to the question of damages, but state here that I believe it important to emphasize that given the intangible nature of the interest protected, damages for intrusion upon seclusion will ordinarily be measured by a modest conventional sum.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Spieser c. Procureur général du Canada, 2020 QCCA 42 (CanLII)

[1] L’appelante se pourvoit contre un jugement rendu le 21 juin 2012 par l’honorable Bernard Godbout de la Cour supérieure du Québec, district de Québec. Ce jugement accueille en partie une action collective formée au nom des citoyens de la municipalité de Shannon et condamne les intimés à verser aux membres du groupe des dommages‑intérêts en réparation du trouble de voisinage causé par la contamination de la nappe phréatique par un solvant industriel, le trichloroéthylène [« TCE »][1]. Pour leur part, les intimés se portent appelants incidents contre certaines conclusions du jugement.

(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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