Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Justices of the Peace - damned if you do and damned if you don't

Justices of the Peace are sometimes criticized in the media for agreeing to terms of release that seem too slack - see for example http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/21/christie-blatchford-man-who-shot-and-killed-rcmp-officer-breezed-out-of-one-of-the-sloppiest-bail-hearings-imaginable .  

The problem is Justices are directed to accept such joint submissions and so have little room to make a different decision. See the recent decision in  R v DA 2014 ONSC 2166:

    The Court of Appeal of Ontario has held that a judge may reject a joint submission for sentence if that sentence would be contrary to the public interest or bring the administration of justice into disrepute. I cite R. v. Downey, [2006] O.J. No. 1289; R. v. Dorsey (1999), 123 O.A.C. 342; R. v. Sriskantharajh (1994), 90 C.C.C. (3d) 559.

    More specifically in R. v. Findlay, [2004] O.J. No. 3263 at paragraph 6, Justice Gordon of the Ontario Court of Justice addressed the issue under what circumstances should the court exercise its discretion to reject a joint bail release submission. Justice Gordon held that,

  1. "When crown counsel at the bail hearing proposes terms to the court in circumstances set out in Section 515, it is incumbent upon the justice of the peace to accept those terms unless he or she determines that those terms are either unlawful or they would bring the administration of justice into disrepute."

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