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 Barton, 2017 ABCA 216

[1] The jury system is probably the most familiar symbol and manifestation of the Rule of Law in this country. It is enshrined in our traditions, values and the words of our foundational law, the Constitution of Canada. The verdict of a jury is the product of the reason and collective human experience of people taken from their busy lives to work together in an unfamiliar, yet vital, enterprise. But juries, consisting of 12 lay persons, cannot properly discharge their duties if the instructions they receive on the law are incorrect, inconsistent or non-existent on key legal issues of decisive significance. Nor is there any reasonable chance for jurors to discharge their duties impartially if trial judges fail to warn them about relying on improper myths and stereotypes when jurors have been implicitly or explicitly invited to do just that. This is especially so in trials involving sexual offences. Despite our society’s recognition of individual autonomy and equality, there still remains an undeniable need for judges to ensure that the criminal law is not tainted by pernicious and unfair assumptions, whether about women, Aboriginal people, or sex trade workers. Failing to meet that need can undermine the jurors’ ability to apply the law objectively and correctly. Regrettably, in this case, the jury charge was deficient in all these respects.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Samaroo v Canada Revenue Agency, 2018 BCSC 324

[208] The defendants’ submission that the difference in income before and after the audit is sufficient to prove the actus reus of the offence and is enough to establish reasonable and probable cause is flawed. The difficulty with their position is that it ignores how the actus reus was to be proved – that is, the actual mechanics of the alleged evasion. As I said above, the defendants’ submission is a theory. To say that the plaintiffs did not report income cannot be the actus reus. What they did, or did not do, in order to avoid paying taxes must be shown to establish reasonable and probable grounds. That is why during the investigation the evidence about the number of unreported till tapes, shifts and/or daily summary sheets was so important.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. David v. Loblaw; Breckon v. Loblaw, 2018 ONSC 1298

[2] The underlying case entails claims of price fixing and conspiracy brought by consumers against sellers of packaged bread across the country. It involves putative class actions commenced in at least 5 provinces as well as the Federal Court. Strosberg and Sotos have each commenced actions in Ontario (respectively, the “David Action” and the “Breckon Action”). This motion is brought simultaneously in both of those actions, asking the court to make an order under section 12 of the Class Proceedings Act, 1992, SO 1992, c. 6 (“CPA”) to ensure a fair and expeditious procedure for the conduct of the litigation.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Mensah) c. Ville de Montréal (Service de police de la Ville de Montréal), 2018 QCTDP 5

[93] Conséquemment, le contexte social à l’intérieur duquel les faits en litige se produisent est utile et pertinent pour en saisir tout leur sens et en mesurer la portée[31].

[94] Toutefois, le contexte social ne doit servir qu’à établir une toile de fond. Il ne peut jamais à lui seul constituer une preuve prima facie qu’un acte discriminatoire a été commis. Un rapport tangible doit être démontré entre la preuve circonstancielle de discrimination et la décision ou la conduite contestée[32].

[95] Dès lors, si la preuve du contexte social peut être nécessaire à l’étude rétrospective de l’intervention des agents Fournier et Robidoux le 4 juin 2011, la résolution du présent litige vise d’abord et avant tout à déterminer si lesdits agents ont eu un comportement qui constitue de la discrimination par profilage racial envers le plaignant.

(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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