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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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The end of the Charter of Rights in BC

The end of the Charter of Rights in BC

If you thought the IRP scheme was the low point in BC legal history, think again. Emboldened by aspects of the Sivia decision, the BC Government now plans to take away the Charter of Rights and your right to a trial when the police stop you for a driving offence. It's the end of the Charter of Rights in BC. More disingenuous than IRPs or ADPs, the Government has introduced a bill that will completely uproot our justice system. It will eliminate the Charter of Rights with respect to all driving offences in the Motor Vehicle Act. They did this while...

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Drunk driving is on the decline

Drunk driving is on the decline. Or is it on the increase?

Last week CTV reported that the number of people who were given driving prohibitions in connection with an alleged drinking and driving offence since December 1, 2011, was a fraction of the number from the same period the year before and about half of what we would see in a typical year. These are important statistics for a number of reasons and it was not fully fleshed out in the story. Paul was interviewed by CTV the day before, and the clip used in this particular news report was not in relation to the statistics. So we did not get a...

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Government’s IRP fix and what it means to you

The IRP Fix is in - the Government wants an unfair system

The IRP fix is in and British Columbians want to know what it means to them. More important right now is what it means to the people who received a Fail 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition before November 30, 2011. The short answer is that nothing has changed. The legislation is silent on Fail IRPs issued before the law was found to violated the Charter in the ruling on November 30, 2011. So unless the Government introduces some other transitional legislation, this matter will be resolved before the courts. Will the legislation impact the petitions/appeals now before the courts? The matters are being...

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New IRP Legislation Introduced

As most people know, the Government has introduced the proposed changes to the Motor Vehicle Act to bring back "Fail" 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibitions, also known as IRPs or Automatic roadside driving prohibitions. You can find the press release here and the proposed legislation here. Apparently the press release was issued, there was a statement from the Minister, and then she refused to answer questions. We can understand why she would want to get out of there. The media are now well-armed with questions that the Government understandably would like to never answer. First, the Garbage: The Minister said that the Reports will...

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Incentives in the justice system

We do not have awards ceremonies for the judges who convict the most people, or who send the greatest number of people to jail in a year. There is no such thing as a Bankie Award for the judge who renders the most decisions in favour of banks in civil suits. And this is all very simple -- the reason we do not reward outcomes such as this is because it would make the judges a party interested in the outcome of the litigation. The system would be patently unfair. The party making the decision, the judge, would have an...

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FOI Results Published Online

When the Spencer decision was rendered, we wanted to see if anything changed to address the concerns raised by the Court. We noticed temporary staffing changes at the OSMV, but no change to the general way IRP hearings, and in particular hearings for refusals were being handled and decided. We made two Freedom of Information requests to try to sort out what was happening. We requested training material, and in particular training material that has been prepared since Spencer was released, and a copy of all Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) review decisions where the allegation was of refusal to blow. So far...

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It Doesn’t Make Sense

Most of the criminal cases we deal with are resolved in Provincial Criminal Court with as little attention as possible and without any lingering questions. This is the way we like it. The nice thing about the court in BC is that, even if you disagree with the outcome, it still usually makes sense. Until the IRP scheme came into place, this is the way we thought of the law in Canada -- it is not always what we would like it to be, but it still makes sense. If you have been through an IRP review, then you know that...

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Challenging Established Beliefs

Challenging established beliefs

If you challenge conventional dogma, you run the risk of being labeled a heretic and you face a midnight arrest and subsequent show trial. If you follow the example of Socrates and defend yourself to the embarrassment of the authorities, you can expect them to come down hard on you. If you partially recant, like Galileo, you may get off easy. But of course, Galileo lived in different times. And when he explained that the earth orbits the sun, the evidence was there for all to see. People knew or suspected that the accepted dogma was likely mistaken. It had become commonly...

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All The News That’s Fit to Bury

IRP News that's fit to bury

The end of April is now upon us and we still have not heard a peep from the New Westminster Police concerning the Port Moody Police. If you have followed our blog, you may recall that we revealed that the Port Moody Police were not following proper procedures in calibrating Approved Screening Devices. We gave this information to the media, and the New Westminster Police were brought in to conduct an investigation. As far as we were concerned, it should have taken no more than 30 minutes to sort the matter out. But that would have required an admission of the...

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