Voting for the Bencher by-election is underway and if you’re planning to cast your ballot this weekend you have a decision to make about which direction The Law Society should take. You can go for more of the same. Or, you can choose to bring a fresh voice to the Law Society who cares about the needs of all lawyers.
As a relatively young member of the bar, I will ensure all lawyers are well-represented at Bencher meetings. I aim to affect real change by bringing my unique perspective and experiences as a young criminal defence lawyer.
This morning, the Provincial Government finally unveiled its regulatory framework for dealing with the issue of marijuana-impaired driving, come legalization of recreational cannabis. The purpose of this blog post is to explain the changes to BC’s Motor Vehicle Act that are being proposed to deal with cannabis legalization. And, as usual, to offer my opinion on why these changes are not appropriate or effective.
One very troubling suggestion by the BC Government recently was the notion that traffic ticket convictions on the driving record would soon come with increased consequences to insurance. They plan to be adding penalties to a ticket after the fact. But not only are those going to affect tickets that are issued after the changes come into effect, the word on the street is that the insurance-related consequences will be assessed to tickets that have previously been added to a person's record.
This is highly problematic, and may verge on being unconstitutional.
Last week, British Columbia's Attorney General, David Eby, gave remarks that suggest the government is contemplating traffic tickets resulting in an increase in insurance rates. The Attorney General cites a survey, conducted by the Provincial Government, which found that there was overwhelming support for the idea that high risk drivers should pay more for their insurance.
At first blush, having a traffic ticket affect your insurance rates may seem like a step in the right direction toward solving ICBC's financial problems and promoting road safety, but this idea is deeply flawed in several respects. Here's why.
A short while ago, I was thinking about how driving-related cases, impaired driving or driving while prohibited or Immediate Roadside Prohibitions, or whatever the case may be actually drive the law. Driving law drives the development of the law. And so I decided to create a podcast that focuses on this issue, and ways in which driving law is driving change in other areas of the law.
Today, I released the first episode. I hope everyone takes a listen.
On the first episode we discuss Bill C-75 and its very sneaky changes to impaired driving law, saliva testing for marijuana impairment, and distracted driving penalties.
The biggest hint to date about what British Columbia’s drug-impaired driving scheme is going to look like is finally here. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth was quoted in The Province today as saying that a legislative scheme not unlike the Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme might soon become a reality.
It’s nice to know he’s creating a new prohibition scheme when the one that he criticized while in opposition remains unrepaired.
But what the article in The Province hints at is that roadside testing will be done by way of saliva testing. And this is inherently problematic.
Last week, disgraced former Vancouver Police Department Detective Constable Jim Fisher pleaded guilty to three charges of abuse of trust and sexual exploitation of a minor. He had been facing a slew of charges, which had slowly been whittled away by the Crown and ultimately pleas were entered on three of them. Each of the three charges refers to his interactions with minors who were also witnesses in cases that he was managing.
The Court ordered a pre-sentence report, and the matter was adjourned for that to occur and for the submissions of counsel. Prior to the pleas being formally entered, the court was asked to canvass certain provisions of the Criminal Code with Fisher. The judge seized of the matter warned him that he would not be bound by the position of Crown and defence.
With this in mind, the case raises very interesting issues relating to the law of joint submissions.
In Canadian criminal law, a longstanding tradition has been that agreements between the Crown and Defence are to be followed by judges, unless there is good reason to depart from the joint position. However, until recently there was no hard and fast rule about this. In late 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in R. v. Anthony-Cook, a decision addressing joint submissions. The Court ruled that judges should not depart from a joint submission unless the administration of justice would be brought into disrepute or the proposed sentence would be contrary to the public interest.
This weekend, an opinion piece in CBC got me thinking: what happens to Canadians who want to seek entry into the United States but are marijuana users, after marijuana is legal?
The Government has not anticipated the host of problems that legalization will pose for cross-border travellers. And while use of marijuana is a ground to exclude entry into the United States, my greater concern is how driving-related marijuana offences recorded on the driving record will impact those seeking entry into the United States.
Currently, every province is considering how it will address the problem of drug-impaired driving once legalization is complete. In British Columbia, the Government has hinted at the likelihood of a further roadside prohibition scheme to address the so-called problem of drug-impaired driving. Leaving aside the fact that drug-impaired driving is both already an issue and already addressed in legislation, making all of this really a non-issue, an expanded roadside prohibition scheme will have devastating consequences of the type the alcohol-impaired schemes do not.
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer with a focus on impaired driving, cannabis legalization and related issues, and immediate roadside prohibition defence.