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. Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72

[1] It is not a crime in Canada to sell sex for money. However, it is a crime to keep a bawdy-house, to live on the avails of prostitution or to communicate in public with respect to a proposed act of prostitution. It is argued that these restrictions on prostitution put the safety and lives of prostitutes at risk, and are therefore unconstitutional.

[2] These appeals and the cross-appeal are not about whether prostitution should be legal or not. They are about whether the laws Parliament has enacted on how prostitution may be carried out pass constitutional muster. I conclude that they do not. I would therefore make a suspended declaration of invalidity, returning the question of how to deal with prostitution to Parliament.
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. R. v. Riesberry, 2014 ONCA 744

[44] In addition, the Crown argued that even if horse racing was a game of pure skill, the appellant’s deceitful conduct in this case transformed the horse-races at issue into games of mixed chance and skill. For this argument, the Crown relied on the Supreme Court’s judgment in R. v. McGarey, 1972 CanLII 26 (SCC), [1974] S.C.R. 278. There, the accused had secretly weighted some of the bottles in a game of bottle toss. The Supreme Court found that this type of cheating transformed the nature of the game in question from one of pure skill to one of mixed chance and skill.
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Bedford v. Canada, 2010 ONSC 4264

[1] There has been a long-standing debate in this country and elsewhere about the subject of prostitution. The only consensus that exists is that there is no consensus on the issue. Governments in Canada, as well as internationally, have studied the topic and produced recommendations ranging from creating laws aimed at protecting individuals, families and communities by promulgating tough criminal laws to decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution. Other legal solutions look at the reasons for the existence of prostitution in our society and emphasize the need for social and economic responses. None of the schemes proposed are without controversy.

[2] This case demonstrates the tension that exists around the moral, social and historical perspectives on the issue of prostitution and the effect of certain criminal law provisions on the constitutional rights of those affected. It highlights the role of the courts and their relationship to the other branches of government.
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Berger c. R., 2015 QCCS 4666

[40] Dans ce dossier, la Cour est d’avis que l’abus de procédure qu’elle a décrite entre dans la catégorie principale et la catégorie résiduelle. La communication tardive des éléments de preuve entre dans la catégorie principale. Le cumul de l’atteinte à l’intégrité du procès par la suppression de ces éléments pendant des années, leur importance et l’absence de toute explication de la part de l’intimée entre dans la catégorie résiduelle.
(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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