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. Last, 2009 SCC 45, [2009] 3 SCR 146

[1] The Crown enjoys a large discretion in deciding to include more than one count in an indictment (s. 591(1) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46). On an application to sever a multi-count indictment, the overarching criteria are the interests of justice. This appeal raises the issue of whether a trial judge erred in dismissing an application to sever. In my view, he did.
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. R v White, 2014 ABQB 577

44 It was incumbent upon the trial judge to consider and weigh cumulatively all the relevant factors to determine whether the interests of justice require severance. In this case, although Mr. Last was likely to testify on both incidents, the risk of prejudice to Mr. Last in having a joint trial was nevertheless significant because of the dangers of credibility cross-pollination and prohibited propensity reasoning. In other circumstances, after balancing all relevant factors, the interests of justice may have nevertheless required a joint trial. However, in this case, there was an absence of compelling countervailing reasons for having a joint trial. This case did not pose a risk of inconsistent verdicts, nor did it involve substantial overlap in witness testimony or other evidence. As stated by the dissenting judge, “the nature of the nexus between the counts in this case did not provide a reason why it was necessary, desirable or convenient to try the cases together” (para. 130). Indeed, a joint trial in the circumstances of this case did not serve any truth-seeking interest, and brought few if any benefits to the administration of justice.
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. R v. Sidhu, 2015 ABCA 293

[31] Mr. Sidhu did not explain the events that preceded his arrival at the Edmonton Remand Centre on September 18, 2014 with the envelope. Did he intend to inform that officers that his client’s wife gave him the envelope and asked him to deliver it to Mr. Clarke and he forgot to do so when the officers told him that he would have to hurry because the remand centre would soon close? Did Mr. Clarke discover while meeting with Mr. Sidhu that he had contraband on his person and, after Mr. Sidhu gave him the envelope, Mr. Clarke put it in the envelope to avoid detection? Did Mr. Sidhu meet with someone else who had the opportunity to switch envelopes? Did he leave the envelope where a switch could have been engineered without his knowledge? Why did Mr. Sidhu think the material in the envelope contained solicitor-client privileged material?
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Institut Philippe Pinel de Montréal c. A.G. 1994 CanLII 6105 (QC CA)

AUTORISE, pour une période de deux ans à compter de la date de cet arrêt, l’appelant à traiter l’intimé contre son gré, en lui administrant des médicaments antispychotiques et les autres médicaments jugés nécessaires pour atténuer ou combattre les effets secondaires des premiers;
(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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