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. St-Cloud, 2015 SCC 27

[1] The repute of our criminal justice system rests on the deeply held belief of Canadians that the right to liberty and the presumption of innocence are fundamental values of our society that require protection. However, that repute also depends on the confidence citizens have that persons charged with serious crimes will not be able to evade justice, harm others or interfere with the administration of justice while awaiting trial. The risk that one of these events might tarnish the repute of the justice system was recognized by Parliament in enacting s. 515(10)(a) and (b) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C‑46 (“Cr.C.”), under which the interim detention of an accused may be ordered where that is necessary to ensure the attendance of the accused in court or to guarantee the protection or safety of the public.

[2] Moreover, Parliament judged that there are circumstances in which releasing an accused person could undermine the repute of the justice system, and this led it to provide, in s. 515(10)(c) Cr.C., for a third ground for interim detention, maintaining confidence in the administration of justice. Thus, Parliament recognized that there are circumstances in which allowing a person charged with a serious crime to be released into the community pending trial in the face of overwhelming evidence might suggest to the public that justice has not been done: see R. v. Hall, 2002 SCC 64 (CanLII), [2002] 3 S.C.R. 309, at para. 26.
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Robinson v Lepage, 2015 ONSC 3128

[13] Public perceptions including the perception of impartiality are an integral part of the legal system. The public must have confidence that when they appear in court they will receive a fair and unbiased hearing. The integrity of the administration of justice depends upon this perception.

[14] Public perception involves the perception of the public at large as well as the perception of the litigants. Sir Robert Megarry, a noted English judge, once observed that the most important person in the court room with respect to the issue of perception is “the litigant who is going to lose.” [Sir Robert Megarry, “Temptations of the Bench”, 16 Alberta Law Review 406 at 410].
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Equitable Trust Company v Lougheed Block Inc, 2014 ABCA 234

[29] Second, this reduction of principal is neither a “fine, penalty or rate of interest”, nor is it exacted on “arrears of principal or interest”. The proposition that only penalties are prohibited is reinforced in the following passage from The Canadian Law of Mortgages cited by Berger JA at paragraph 61. The author notes that section 8(1) provides a remedy when provisions in a mortgage directly (by higher interest charges) or indirectly (by way of penalty) increase interest rates on payments in default above those chargeable on payments not in default. In particular the author states in the penultimate sentence that Parliament intended to prohibit mortgagees from “exact[ing] a penalty” on a defaulting mortgagor.
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was R. c. St-Cloud, 2015 CSC 27

[1] La considération dont jouit notre système de justice pénale repose sur la conviction profonde des Canadiens et des Canadiennes que le droit à la liberté et la présomption d’innocence sont des valeurs fondamentales de notre société qu’il est essentiel de protéger. Mais cette considération est également tributaire de la confiance qu’ont les citoyens que les personnes accusées d’un crime sérieux ne pourront fuir la justice, causer préjudice à autrui ou nuire à l’administration de la justice lorsqu’elles sont en attente de leur procès. Le Parlement a reconnu ces risques d’atteinte à la considération du système de justice aux al. 515(10)a) et b) du Code criminel, L.R.C. 1985, c. C-46 (« »), qui autorisent la mise en détention provisoire d’un accusé lorsqu’une telle mesure est nécessaire pour assurer sa présence au tribunal ou pour garantir la protection ou la sécurité du public.

[2] Le Parlement a en outre estimé que, dans certaines circonstances, la mise en liberté d’un accusé pouvait miner la considération dont jouit le système de justice. Il a donc prévu, à l’al. 515(10)c), un troisième motif de détention provisoire, le maintien de la confiance du public envers l’administration de la justice. Ainsi, le Parlement a reconnu que dans certaines situations, le fait de permettre à une personne accusée d’un crime grave de rester en liberté dans la collectivité en attendant son procès, lorsque la preuve qui pèse contre elle est accablante, peut engendrer auprès du public l’idée que justice n’est pas rendue : voir R. c. Hall, 2002 CSC 64 (CanLII), [2002] 3 R.C.S. 309, par. 26.
(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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