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Vancouver Criminal Law Blog
Acumen Law Corporation > Blog (Page 50)

Peer pressure

Peer pressure

We have been dealing with a topic that is particularly concerning to us. It should be on the minds of every British Columbian, and that is the steps that the Government is taking to oust the jurisdiction of the courts for most matters and to move adjudication to in-house tribunals. If our courts were properly funded, there would be no backlog in dealing with matters. The Government is going to use piles of our tax money to create these new tribunals. And the purpose, we think, is so they can control the outcome of the cases. The Government has tried to...

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Goal-oriented adjudication

BC Government can train members of tribunals to get the decisions they want

In Canada and the US courts are often criticized for being goal oriented. Right-wing and religious groups usually complain that courts have a "liberal agenda" -- that they have goal-oriented adjudication that support a movement away from traditional Christian / Conservative values. It may be a valid observation. There is no doubt that courts, with the power to make decisions of fact, can craft judgments to achieve certain goals. But from what we see every day, judges are very independent and it is unlikely that any agenda could be kept more or less under wraps. Judges have no boss. Although they...

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Sources of inside information

As you have probably figured out reading our blog, we have sources of inside information in the Government and some police forces in BC. It's not nefarious. Often the information we get merely confirms what we already know. Many people on the inside find the IRP scheme deeply flawed and as a consequence they tell us what's going on. So as we've mentioned before, we would love to have told you the rumours, for example about the Government eliminating traffic court, but there is some information that we must hold back. What we have learned from police officers is that many...

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Subtle pressure

The Government has been incapable of influencing the courts

In March we discussed the strange tension between the Government and the courts here in BC. The blog post remained one of the most popular since then. The post discusses the statement issued by the three levels of court concerning judicial independence. It was made in response to comments made by member of the Government that seemed to suggest, among other things, that the Government doesn't like the rulings of the courts. The suggestion was that the courts need to tow the Government's line, i.e. convict more people, hand out harsher punishment, be more businesslike and focus on results. Comments like this...

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Bill will move traffic disputes out of B.C. courts

Drivers may soon be denied their day in court to challenge traffic tickets. Vancouver lawyer Sarah Leamon expects constitutional questions to arise with the likely passage of legislation that removes courts from disputes involving driving violations. “The right to counsel and the right to a fair trial are most certainly going to be compromised, in my opinion,” Leamon told the Straight in a phone interview. Bill 52, called the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act (No. 2), 2012, establishes an administrative process to deal with traffic infractions. This replaces the current court-based procedure. “You’re not going to be able to cross-examine police officers anymore,” Leamon explained. Shirley...

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Findings of fact to fit a result

Findings of Fact to Fit a result

If you read our post from yesterday, you know about the secret. Essentially, a judge or tribunal can uphold or reject any matter before them by basing their decision on findings of fact. If you're the judge and you are inclined to a certain decision, all you need to do is make findings of fact that support your view. The court conducting the appeal will defer to those findings. Every judge and every tribunal member knows this. Thankfully, it is very rare in courts. We can speculate about the reason for this. We think that legal training and experience are very...

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A Secret

A secret about how courts and trubunals can make decisions

It's time we let you in on a secret. There is a major flaw in our justice system. Appeal courts struggle with it but only using delicate language designed to shroud the problem. Virtually all lawyers know about it but nobody has managed to come up with an acceptable solution. And we're not supposed to talk about it. We need a justice system and our works reasonably well. So to protect the confidence in our justice system, we're not supposed to tell you about the problem. But we believe that people should understand the good and bad aspects of the system....

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Mulgrew: Altered drunk driving law likely to bring on new court challenges

The B.C. Government’s attempt to rehabilitate the unconstitutional drunk-driving law looks like it will trigger further court challenges. “I’m sure it will be challenged again,” said Jeremy Carr one of the lead lawyers on the landmark case that overturned the controversial legislation late last year. Vancouver lawyer Paul Doroshenko called the situation appalling. “If you blow, they don’t care how police got it,” he fumed. “They could pin you down on the ground and make you blow and it’s admissible. As far as they are concerned the charter of rights and freedoms does not apply to their tribunals.” The screening devices remain extremely problematic...

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