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. Jordan2016 SCC 27 (CanLII), [2016] 1 SCR 631

[1] Timely justice is one of the hallmarks of a free and democratic society. In the criminal law context, it takes on special significance. Section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms attests to this, in that it guarantees the right of accused persons “to be tried within a reasonable time”.

[2] Moreover, the Canadian public expects their criminal justice system to bring accused persons to trial expeditiously. As the months following a criminal charge become years, everyone suffers. Accused persons remain in a state of uncertainty, often in pre-trial detention. Victims and their families who, in many cases, have suffered tragic losses cannot move forward with their lives. And the public, whose interest is served by promptly bringing those charged with criminal offences to trial, is justifiably frustrated by watching years pass before a trial occurs.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. R v Natomagan, 2022 ABCA 48

[140] We also recognize the limitations of the actuarial risk assessments when applied to Indigenous offenders. Those limitations must be understood and weight must be allocated in a way that is consistent with the courts’ obligations, including accuracy in fact-finding, combatting racial bias, and reducing the over-incarceration of Indigenous people. In the dangerous offender context, section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code mandates a careful review of risk assessment methodology and predictions, having regard to Indigenous history and experience.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. R. v. Williams, 2022 ONCJ 57

[42] Regardless of which cases I am directed to involving the possession of a restricted or prohibited weapon, they all have a consistent theme, regardless of the level of court: “firearms pose a significant danger to our community to such an extent that exemplary sentences must be imposed which denounce such conduct and deter others from possessing such dangerous weapons,” R. v. Ward-Jackson, 2018 ONSC 178 (CanLII), [2018] O.J. No. 163 (SCJ, Kelly) at para. 32. This principle is well expressed by Trafford J. in R. v. Villella, 2006 CanLII 39324 (ON SC), [2006] O.J. No. 4690 (S.C.J.) at para. 46:…

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Renvoi à la Cour d’appel du Québec relatif à la Loi concernant les enfants, les jeunes et les familles des Premières Nations, des Inuits et des Métis, 2022 QCCA 185

[396] La Cour suprême conclut plutôt que l’art. 35 accorde une priorité et un statut constitutionnels aux droits ancestraux, ce qui permet d’exiger des gouvernements de justifier toute réglementation qui porterait atteinte à l’exercice de ces droits[387]. Il importe donc, avant de décrire la manière dont la Cour suprême a identifié les caractéristiques des droits ancestraux, de s’arrêter brièvement au test justificatif qu’elle a élaboré dans Sparrow et qui a évolué depuis. Ce test, en effet, est une composante essentielle de la dynamique relationnelle qui découle de l’art. 35 de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1982 :

(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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