Remembering Compassion

Although I represent both employers and employees, I spend much of each day meeting with people who have recently lost their job. They are going through, in one way or another, the typical stages of grief. By the time they see me, either a few or ten days after they got the news, they could be in any stage of the process…denial, anger, depression or acceptance.

The Queen v. Luca Magnotta-the Defence of Not Criminally Responsible by Reason of Mental Disorder

The trial of Luca Magnotta on a charge of first-degree murder, currently underway in Montreal, has once again put the defence of not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder in the spotlight.  Some may recall that it was successful in Toronto for Richard Kachkar in the killing of a Toronto police officer but every case has different facts which may lead to very different results.

Adrian Peterson and Child Abuse in Canada

While we’ll need to wait for the outcome of trial proceedings involving Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson on a charge of abusing his four-year-old son and he and Vikings fans will have to wait too before the issue of his return to the playing fields of the NFL is determined, some may wonder how that kind of situation may be addressed in a Canadian criminal court.


A few thoughts on the Ray Rice situation

There’s been so much discussion on the Ray Rice situation in the U.S., I can’t help but feel the need to add to it.

Fairness to Victim's Act

You may’ve read the series of articles in the Globe and Mail recently about the Harper Government’s latest venture into reforming our criminal law.

It turns out that the text of the Bill they sent on to the Senate had several errors in it.  It wasn’t the one they’d passed.  It was missing some clauses meant to be included in what they’ve called the Victims Bill of Rights.

Oscar Pistorius - What if it happened here?

The Oscar Pistorius Trial has had some of us captivated.  But what if it happened in Canada?  Here are a few comparative comments along with an explanatory note or two:

Is Preventing Poverty Charitable?

Ask a random person on the street if an organization’s goal was to prevent poverty, would they be considered charitable and you would likely get a resounding yes. Ask Canada Revenue Agency however, and you will get the exact opposite answer.

What happened to the Right to Reasonable Bail?

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association just released a comprehensive paper on a major problem in Canada’s criminal justice system: too many people are languishing in our jails because they haven’t been granted bail. Entitled “Set Up to Fail: Bail and the Revolving Door of Pre-Trial Detention” details how the rates of those awaiting trial while in custody now exceed the numbers of those who have been found guilty and sentenced.

Don't be Set Adrift - Speak to a Lawyer

I recently returned from a weekend camping adventure in beautiful Muskoka. On the last day of the trip, my friend had nearly tipped the canoe while boarding, which might have caused me to strike my head against the rocks. Thankfully the only damage was to our outdoorsmen reputations.

Law 101 - Expert Evidence

This is the written version of a presentation made by Andrew Spurgeon to the Hamilton Medical Legal Society at the Autumn Seminar.