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. Szczerbaniwicz, [2010] 1 SCR 455, 2010 SCC 15

[2] As in most trials involving domestic disputes, the spouses in this case offered differing versions of the same event. After hearing and watching both of them, the trial judge reached his own conclusions about what actually happened and convicted the husband of assault. Those conclusions were based on the facts and impressions he considered to be most relevant and reliable. In the absence of any palpable and overriding error in his appreciation of them, it is not open to an appellate court to sift selectively through the record and substitute its own narrative and outcome: R. v. R.E.M., 2008 SCC 51 (CanLII), [2008] 3 S.C.R. 3, at para. 56. Seeing no error either in the trial judge’s appreciation of the facts or in his application of the relevant law, a majority in the appeal court dismissed the husband’s appeal. Based on the record and the trial judge’s reasons, I agree with this disposition.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Liu v Hamptons Golf Course Ltd., 2017 ABCA 303

[29] The restrictive covenants must be interpreted in context, and having regard to the expressed intent of the signatory. They were created by the original developer at the time when it owned all the lands. They are, in form, an agreement by the developer with itself, something that is expressly permitted by s. 68 of the Land Titles Act. The intent of the developer was obviously to limit resistance by the neighbouring property owners to the operation of the golf course. Since “reasonable” impacts on neighbouring property are not a tort, and therefore not actionable, the restrictive covenants must have been aimed at something more than that.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. R. v. Jordan, 2016 SCC 27

[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)

The most-consulted French-language decision was R. c. Jordan, [2016] 1 RCS 631, 2016 CSC 27

[1] La justice rendue en temps utile est l’une des caractéristiques d’une société libre et démocratique. Elle revêt une importance particulière en matière criminelle. L’alinéa 11b) de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés en est la preuve, puisqu’il garantit à l’inculpé le droit « d’être jugé dans un délai raisonnable ».

[2] La population canadienne s’attend en outre à ce que son système de justice criminelle juge les inculpés de manière diligente. Quand les mois suivant une inculpation au criminel deviennent des années, tout le monde en pâtit. Les inculpés demeurent dans l’incertitude et souvent détenus avant leur procès. Les victimes et leurs familles, qui dans bien des cas ont subi des pertes tragiques, ne peuvent tourner la page. Le public, quant à lui, dont l’intérêt est servi lorsque les inculpés sont traduits rapidement en justice, est frustré avec raison de voir des années passer avant la tenue d’un procès.

(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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