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‎Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan

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Legal news and issues with lawyer Michael Mulligan on CFAX 1070 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Continue Reading >>
Legal news and issues with lawyer Michael Mulligan on CFAX 1070 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. << Show Less
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No condom = no consent, when lawyers can't quit, and unjust enrichment This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:Section 273.1(1) of the Criminal Code specifies that a person’s voluntary agreement to “engage in the sexual activity in question” is required. Even where there is consent to sexual activity, it can be legally ineffective in various circumstances, including where the consent is obtained by force, the exercise of authority or fraud. In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada decided on a case where an accused secretly sabotaged condoms by poking holes in them. In that case, the sexual activity with the sabotaged condoms was found to have been consented to, however, the consent was ineffective because of fraud. The Supreme Court of Canada has also found a failure to disclose an HIV infection can amount to fraud when engaging in sexual activity that creates a significant risk of bodily harm. In the case discussed on the show, the complainant met the accused on a dating app. She indicated in text messages that she only wanted to engage in sexual activity with a condom. After a short meeting, the complaint and accused had sexual intercourse on two occasions.On the first occasion, the accused used a condom, on the second he did not. The complaint was a willing participant on both occasions; however, she did not realize the accused was not wearing a condom on the second occasion. The accused didn’t do anything to deceive the complaint on the second occasion: he just didn’t put on a condom. At trial, the judge applied the earlier Supreme Court of Canada case involving the sabotaged condoms and concluded there was no evidence of fraud. On appeal, the majority of the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the “sexual activity in question” which had been consented to was intercourse with a condom and there had been no consent to intercourse without a condom. As a result, a new trial was ordered. Also on the show, a case dealing with the circumstances a lawyer may not be permitted to quit representing a client is discussed. There are some circumstances in which a lawyer may quit representing a client, even in the middle of a trial. These would include where a client advises a lawyer that they wish to testify a lie about what happened, or where a lawyer is no longer able to obtain instructions from their client. Where a lawyer indicates that they wish to quit for ethical reasons a judge is not permitted to make inquiries about this because it might reveal privileged solicitor-client communications. Where, however, a lawyer wishes to quit representing a client for financial reasons, shortly before a criminal trial, in limited circumstances a judge might require the lawyer to continue. Relevant factors would include whether the accused could represent themselves if another lawyer could assist and if there would be prejudice against others if the trial needed to be adjourned. In the case discussed, the judge concluded that similar considerations apply to child protection cases, where the government is seeking to apprehend a child. Because the lawyer was seeking to withdraw because he had lost contact with his client and could not obtain proper instructions there was no basis to require the lawyer to continue with the case. Finally, on the show, an unsuccessful attempt to claim unjust enrichment by an ex-wife of three years against her former father-in-law on the basis that she claimed to have contributed to paying the mortgage on a house she and her ex-husband had rented from him. Follow this link for a transcript of the show and links to the cases discussed.
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No condom = no consent, when lawyers can't quit, and unjust enrichment This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:Section 273.1(1) of the Criminal Code specifies that a person’s voluntary agreement to “engage in the sexual activity in question” is required. Even where there is consent to sexual activity, it can be legally ineffective in various circumstances, including where the consent is obtained by force, the exercise of authority or fraud. In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada decided on a case where an accused secretly sabotaged condoms by poking holes in them. In that case, the sexual activity with the sabotaged condoms was found to have been consented to, however, the consent was ineffective because of fraud. The Supreme Court of Canada has also found a failure to disclose an HIV infection can amount to fraud when engaging in sexual activity that creates a significant risk of bodily harm. In the case discussed on the show, the complainant met the accused on a dating app. She indicated in text messages that she only wanted to engage in sexual activity with a condom. After a short meeting, the complaint and accused had sexual intercourse on two occasions.On the first occasion, the accused used a condom, on the second he did not. The complaint was a willing participant on both occasions; however, she did not realize the accused was not wearing a condom on the second occasion. The accused didn’t do anything to deceive the complaint on the second occasion: he just didn’t put on a condom. At trial, the judge applied the earlier Supreme Court of Canada case involving the sabotaged condoms and concluded there was no evidence of fraud. On appeal, the majority of the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the “sexual activity in question” which had been consented to was intercourse with a condom and there had been no consent to intercourse without a condom. As a result, a new trial was ordered. Also on the show, a case dealing with the circumstances a lawyer may not be permitted to quit representing a client is discussed. There are some circumstances in which a lawyer may quit representing a client, even in the middle of a trial. These would include where a client advises a lawyer that they wish to testify a lie about what happened, or where a lawyer is no longer able to obtain instructions from their client. Where a lawyer indicates that they wish to quit for ethical reasons a judge is not permitted to make inquiries about this because it might reveal privileged solicitor-client communications. Where, however, a lawyer wishes to quit representing a client for financial reasons, shortly before a criminal trial, in limited circumstances a judge might require the lawyer to continue. Relevant factors would include whether the accused could represent themselves if another lawyer could assist and if there would be prejudice against others if the trial needed to be adjourned. In the case discussed, the judge concluded that similar considerations apply to child protection cases, where the government is seeking to apprehend a child. Because the lawyer was seeking to withdraw because he had lost contact with his client and could not obtain proper instructions there was no basis to require the lawyer to continue with the case. Finally, on the show, an unsuccessful attempt to claim unjust enrichment by an ex-wife of three years against her former father-in-law on the basis that she claimed to have contributed to paying the mortgage on a house she and her ex-husband had rented from him. Follow this link for a transcript of the show and links to the cases discussed.
Murder during unlawful confinement, detention and right to a lawyer This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:In Canada, murder can be either first or second degree. A conviction for either kind of murder results in a mandatory life sentence. With first-degree murder, however, a person must wait 25 years before they can even ask for parole. For second-degree, the judge can decide how long someone would need to wait before being allowed to ask for parole, from 10 to 25 years.The most common murder can become first-degree is when the murder is planned and deliberate.There are other ways murder can become first-degree, even if it isn&apos;t planned. These include the murder of a peace officer, murder committed for a criminal organization, in the courts of a terrorist act, or while committing various serious crimes such as sexual assault or kidnapping, or unlawful confinement.In the first case discussed on the show, the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the murder of a rival drug dealer should have been first-degree.The fact pattern in the case involved the murdered drug dealer being confined in a speeding truck by three other drug dealers. When the truck slowed down, the drug dealer who was being confined in the truck jumped out and tried to run away. He was shot by the accused while he was running away and then shot several more times, killing him.The Supreme Court of Canada concluded that, even though the deceased drug dealer had managed to jump out of the truck and run away some distance, the murder was still in the course of unlawful confinement and, as a result, should be categorized as first-degree.Also on the show, and in keeping with the theme of detention, the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that a young aboriginal man’s right to retain and instruct counsel had been breached when the police took him back to the police station to be interviewed for three hours, without telling him about his right to talk to a lawyer, after a team of police officers attended to his house to execute a search warrant.In Canada, the police have a constitutional obligation to tell someone about their right to a lawyer when they arrest or detain someone. If the person asks to talk to a lawyer, the police are obliged to stop asking questions or attempting to gather evidence from the person until they have been given a reasonable opportunity to talk to a lawyer.As occurred in the case discussed, police will sometimes attempt to get a suspect to come to the police station for an interview without arresting the person to avoid telling them about their right to a lawyer because a lawyer is likely to tell a suspect in a criminal investigation not to talk to the police.In the circumstances of the case discussed, including the fact that the police drove the suspect to the police station after showing up at his house to execute a search warrant, the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the young man had been detained and his right to counsel had been breached.The Supreme Court of Canada also concluded that when the police subsequently arrested the young man, they breached his right to counsel again by not permitting him to call his father to get help arranging for a lawyer. The police refused the request because the young man had previously phoned legal aid and had a very short conversation during which he was told that he should hire a lawyer.In Canada, a person who is arrested or detained is not restricted to a single phone call. They must be provided with a reasonable opportunity to retain and instruct counsel and, if they are being reasonably diligent, this may require multiple phone calls, access to phone directories, or even contacting someone, like a parent, to help arrange for a lawyer.Follow this link for a transcript of the show and links to the cases disc
Medicare Protection Act constitutional, sentencing for contempt and drugs on appeal This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:The British Columbia Medicare Protection Act purports attempts to protect Medicare by prohibiting any doctor from charging any more than what Medicare pays for any service that it covers and effectively prohibiting people from purchasing private insurance for any of these services. These market interventions, combined with insufficient funding for Medicare, have resulted in the rationing of the services that are available by requiring people to wait for treatment. While wealthy people can avoid waiting for treatment by traveling to the United States and paying privately, middle-class people are unable to purchase private health insurance and are forced to wait. A constitutional challenge to the Medicare Protection Act was recently dismissed by the BC Court of Appeal despite evidence that even for the most serious category of medical conditions defined as “patients have severe pain or acute conditions, risk of permanent functional impairment, tumour/carcinoma/cancer/high risk of malignancy, or time sensitivity”, 72.2% were required to wait longer than the maximum acceptable wait time defined by the government. The legal challenge was brought on the basis that the Medicare Protection Act violated patients&apos; constitutional right to life and security of the person. Even though the BC Court of Appeal Judges accepted that some patients would die because of the Medicare Protection Act, they were at pains to point out that they did not have the authority to determine if the legislation was good public policy. They could only determine if the legislation was so harmful that it was unconstitutional.As discussed on the show, the judges hearing the case concluded that while the legislation breached patients&apos; right to life and the security of the person, it did so in a constitutionally permissible way. It’s likely that the case will proceed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Also on the show, another member of the Rainforest Flying Squad was sentenced after being convicted of criminal contempt of court for blocking a logging road in violation of an injunction. As there are more than 400 people being prosecuted for criminal contempt, the series of sentencing decisions that have resulted have afforded interesting insight into the factors to be considered in such cases. In the case discussed on the show, the trial judge concluded that the fact the accused was convicted following a trial, rather than pleading guilty, was not a significant factor in sentencing. In addition to the three days the accused had already spent in jail, he was sentenced to 12 months of probation, including 65 hours of community work service. Finally, on the show, a BC Court of Appeal decision allowing an appeal from a 6-month jail sentence following a conviction for possession of a small quantity of drugs for the purpose of trafficking is discussed. The trial judge had felt obliged to impose the jail sentence because of earlier Court of Appeal cases which had concluded that this should be the outcome absent exceptional circumstances. Follow this link for a transcript of the show and links to the cases discussed.
A car dealership liable for an accident, ICBC unfairness, and a builder's lien This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:In August of 2018, two sisters were walking their dogs on Central Saanich Road in Saanich BC when a vehicle struck them. One of the women, and her dog, were killed. The other woman survived with devastating injuries. The woman who survived spent a year in the hospital. Her injuries included broken ribs, a spinal injury, and damage to an eye. Most significantly, however, was a traumatic brain injury. She now has a severe impairment of self-awareness, short-term memory, and attention. She is not able to self-regulate, plan, or have a sense of time. She has outbursts and dysregulation, including perseveration, disinhibition, dysregulation of effect, irritability, anger outbursts, and a lack of insight. She is able to read to some extent and can do puzzles with her mother.Despite all of this, ICBC alleged that the woman who survived did not suffer any injuries arising from the accident. It denied that the man who hit her was negligent even though he was charged and convicted of impaired driving causing death. It alleged that the woman had not followed medical advice and had failed to mitigate her damages.Because the accident occurred prior to 2021, when no fault ICBC insurance was implemented in British Columbia, the woman was able to go to court and sue. The vehicle driven by the man who hit the two women did not belong to him. Because of this, the woman who survived was able to sue not only the driver but also the owner of the vehicle. When a vehicle owner lets someone else use it, the owner can also be liable for injuries and damage caused by the person who borrowed it. The vehicle was in the process of being purchased from a car dealership by a relative of the man who was driving it.Because the car dealership was unable to arrange financing it prepared an agreement saying the vehicle would be purchased for cash, even though the relative of the driver who was trying to purchase it clearly had no ability to pay cash. The car dealership let the relative take the vehicle home while it tried to arrange financing to complete the sale. In British Columbia, the Consumer Protection Act makes consumer contracts void for unconscionability if there was no reasonable probability of full payment of the total price by the consumer.As a result, the judge hearing the case concluded that the vehicle was still owned by the car dealership at the time of the accident and the car dealership was therefore jointly responsible for the injuries caused. It is likely that the car dealership was insured by ICBC which would explain why ICBC took the position it did in the case. The judge hearing the case awarded the injured woman $5.5 million, in large part to pay for her care for the rest of her life. Because of her brain injury, she will need to live in an assisted living facility for the rest of her life. As discussed on the show, it’s troubling that ICBC took the position it did in this case. Had the accident occurred after the no-fault system was implemented in 2021 the injured woman may have been left at the mercy of ICBC. Also, on the show, another case dealing with government restrictions on suing for injuries in vehicle accident cases is discussed. The BC government passed regulations limiting the amount that could be paid for medical and other experts in vehicle accident cases to 6% of any award to save ICBC money. In the case discussed, the judge found the limit to be unconstitutional.Follow this link for a transcript of the show and links to the cases discussed.
Deck litigation, an estate without a will, and criminal jury trials almost back to normal This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:Twenty-five years ago, a man and his family moved into a home they had built in the Highlands with only a temporary occupancy permit. A final occupancy permit was never obtained, and the lack of compliance was noted on title. As his wife passed away and his children had moved out, the homeowner decided it was time to sell the home. The homeowner hired a contractor to complete some repairs including work on some badly weathered decks. The agreement to do the work was oral and the scope of the project changed several times. The contractor was asked to replace two smaller decks completely but, to save money, only replace the decking on a large main deck. The contractor pointed out to the homeowner that the structure of the main deck was rotten but agreed to continue replacing only the decking.When the home was listed for sale, a building inspector was called by a real-estate agent and several deficiencies were noted, including the rotten main deck. The homeowner was upset that the building inspector had attended and demanded that the contractor replace the main deck as his own expense. The contractor refused because he had only been hired to replace the decking and litigation ensued. Following a three-day trial, the judge concluded that while the contractor wasn’t responsible for the full cost of replacing the main deck, he shouldn’t have proceeded with replacing the decking given the rotten structure. The contractor was ordered to pay for the wasted time and decking material. Because the homeowner sued in Supreme Court, seeking the full cost of a new main deck, and was awarded only $5,175, he is unlikely to receive costs that would ordinarily be awarded to a successful party because the amount awarded is within the jurisdiction of Small Claims Court. The legal costs of the three-day trial are likely to have been substantially more that the amount awarded. The contractor represented himself at trial. Also on the show, the BC Court of Appeal resolved a dispute over an estate that occurred because the deceased didn’t have a valid will. The BC Wills, Estates and Succession Act has provisions that deal with who should receive an estate when someone dies without a will. If someone has a spouse and no descendants, the estate passes to the spouse. The central issue on the appeal was whether the man who had lived with the deceased was her spouse. The Wills, Estates and Succession Act provides that when someone is in a “marriage like relationship” for two years prior to someone’s death is their spouse. There are a variety of factors that courts have looked at to decide if a relationship is “marriage like”.The trial judge focused on the fact that the man and woman didn’t engage in a conjugal relation and concluded that the man wasn’t a spouse. The Court of Appeal disagreed and pointed out that there should not be a checklist of factors and that relationships are diverse.  The man shared a bed with the deceased for three years prior to her death. He took her to hundreds of medical appointments, did the grocery shopping, they shared meals and celebrations together and he testified that he loved her. While, ultimately, the result is likely to have been in accordance with the deceased woman’s wished, several years or litigation and uncertainty could have been avoided if she had prepared a proper will. Follow this link for a transcript of the show and links to the cases discussed.
A murder conviction appeal, a ban on publication of disclosure material and a drug conviction appeal This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:An appeal in a criminal case does not involve asking the judges hearing the appeal to retry the case. It’s a review of what took place at the original trial.The Court of Appeal can allow an appeal if the verdict at trial was unreasonable and not supported by the evidence, if there was a wrong decision made by a trial judge on a question of law, or if there was a miscarriage of justice. When a trial is decided by a judge without a jury, the trial judge would provide detailed reasons explaining how they arrived at their decision. That permits a review of the legal analysis when there is an appeal. Where, however, there is an appeal from a jury verdict, there are no reasons for judgment so appeals will focus on legal rulings the trial judge made during the trial and the instructions they gave to the jury. One of the things that juries are commonly told is that they should follow the trial judge’s instructions with respect to the law because, if the judge makes a mistake with respect to the law, that can be reviewed on an appeal.  Even when the Court of Appeal determines that a trial judge made a wrong decision on a question of law, a new trial may not be ordered if the mistake could not have impacted the outcome of the trial. The language used when there is such a finding is that there was “no substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice”.In the appeal of the Andrew Berry murder conviction, which is discussed on the show, the defence argued that the judge made several legal errors concerning the admissibility of evidence. The Crown’s submissions were that the decisions made by the judge were not mistakes but, if they were, they would not have changed the result of the trial. Also on the show, an application for a ban on publication of evidence provided to the accused during the criminal contempt prosecutions for members of the Rainforest Flying Squad and others is discussed. In criminal cases, the Crown is required to provide disclosure of all the evidence gathered by the police. This is an important requirement to help prevent wrongful convictions. In Canada, there have been several instances of innocent people being convicted because exculpatory evidence was not given to them.When evidence is provided to an accused person or their lawyer it is often referred to as disclosure material. There is a legal requirement called an “implied undertaking” that prohibits the disclosure material from being used for any purpose other than the defence of the criminal case. In the case discussed, one or more of the more than 400 people being prosecuted for criminal contempt failed to keep the disclosure material they received confidential, and it ended up in the hands of journalists. The Crown was successful in applying for an order that the journalists do not publish the contents of the disclosure material unless and until it was used in open court. Finally, on the show, a man convicted of drug offences and sentenced to six years in jail based on evidence from a disgraced former Victoria police officer is discussed. The man was connected to the drugs in question based on a key allegedly found by the former police officer that opened a safe in which the drugs were located. The former police officer claimed that he found the key and put it in his pocket before officers assigned to take photographs of the room where he said he found it did so.   The former police officer was subsequently alleged to have engaged in 13 counts of improper disclosure of information, 3 counts of deceit, 2 counts of discreditable conduct, and 1 count of neglect of duty.Follow this link for the cases discus
Bill C-21 unintended consequences, no fault and a highway blockade injury and a search warrant quashed This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:Bill C-21 proposes various amendments to the Criminal Code and Firearms Act to restrict gun ownership. One part of the legislation is a proposal to freeze the sale or transfer of handguns. This has already had the unintended consequence of causing handgun sales to skyrocket in anticipation of the possibility of sales being stopped. As currently drafted Bill C-21 includes other provisions that would have unintended consequences. These include various automatic and mandatory provisions that would prohibit people from possessing firearms if there are ever subject to a protection order or engage in an “act of domestic violence”. Protection orders can take many forms. Some protection orders can be obtained “ex parte”. This means that the person against whom the order applies was not present for the application and did not have an opportunity to make submissions to a judge about it. Automatically prohibiting someone from continuing to possess firearms without affording an opportunity to attend a hearing or challenge the decision is not procedurally fair and would almost certainly have intended consequences. The proposal to impose automatic prohibitions on firearms ownership based on a person engaging in an “act of domestic violence” is also problematic. This term is not defined in the legislation. Pursuant to the Family Law Act in British Columbia, family violence has been defined to include things inconsistent with the ordinary meaning of violence.Pursuant to the Family Law Act, family violence includes “unreasonable restrictions on, or prevention of, a family member&apos;s financial or personal autonomy” and “intentional damage to property”.If the undefined term in the legislation was interpreted in a way consistent with the Family Law Act, automatic firearms prohibitions could flow from someone causing some minor damage to property or unreasonably restricting the “financial autonomy” of a spouse. Much like with mandatory minimum sentences, while automatic and mandatory provisions are politically catchy, they fail to consider endlessly variable human affairs. Discretion and judgment are required to prevent unintended consequences. Also on the show, the impact of the ICBC no-fault motor vehicle insurance scheme on the case of a protester who was injured when the ladder he was sitting on collapsed is discussed. The ladder in question was attached to a trailer that was positioned on a highway to block access to a ferry terminal. A person who was stuck in the resulting traffic jam removed a piece of wood that was attached to a rope that was attached to the ladder. A few minutes later the protester, who remained at the top of the ladder to make it more difficult to remove the trailer from the road, fell to the ground when the ladder buckled and collapsed. A foundation of the no-fault insurance scheme in British Columbia is a provision in the Insurance (Vehicle) Act that prohibits people from suing for injuries they suffer that is “caused by a vehicle arising out of an accident”. The term “vehicle” is defined to include a trailer. As a result, the injuries sustained by the protester may therefore have arisen out of an accident caused by a vehicle: the trailer with a tall ladder affixed to it. The flip side of this is that the injured protester may be able to claim no-fault accident benefits from ICBC. Finally, on the show, a Court of Appeal decision concerning the quashing of a search warrant for video surveillance footage from a Hells Angels clubhouse is discussed. Follow this link and a transcript of the show and links to the cases and legislation discussed.
An ex-wife attempt to get control over a trust and a financial advisor claims a marriage-like relationship with a client This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:When the divorced father of an adult child with learning disabilities was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he established a trust with $750,000 to provide for his son following his death. As he had been through an acrimonious divorce, the father was concerned that his ex-wife did not get access to the funds for her own purposes. To prevent this the father made his two sisters trustees with broad discretion to use the funds to assist his son. The ex-wife, with whom the son lived, had the son sign a power of attorney permitting her to commence a lawsuit on behalf of the son seeking to remove the sisters as trustees and to take over the administration of the trust herself. A trustee has a fiduciary relationship with the beneficiary of a trust. That means that the trustee must make decisions that are in the best interest of the beneficiary and not themselves. The ex-wife’s complaints included that the trustees were not paying for everything she wanted them to.The sisters were concerned about the funds lasting long enough to take care of the son for the rest of his life.For their part, the sisters offered to have the administration of the trust turned over to a trust company if the judge concluded that was best but did not wish the ex-wife to have control over the funds as that would have been contrary to their late brother’s wishes. The judge concluded that the sisters had been acting responsibly and in the best interests of the son and that there was no basis to have them replaced as trustees. Also on the show: brevity in legal arguments is not only good advocacy but, in some cases, as rule.In the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, there is both a written argument, called a factum, as well as an oral argument. There is a size limit for factums. In civil cases, in the BC Court of Appeal, the limit is 30 pages. If someone wants to file a longer factum, they must obtain permission from a judge. In the case discussed, an appellant attached a draft 82-page factum to an application for more space. The application was denied. The judge reluctantly permitted the appellant to file a 40-page factum but ordered that they would need to pay costs to the other parties who attended the application.Finally, on the show, a case involving a financial advisor from Victoria who became involved in a multi-year romantic relationship with a wealthy older client is discussed. After the relationship ended the financial advisor sought the division of property from her former client and romantic partner on the basis that they had a “marriage-like relationship” of more than 2 years. Under the BC Family Law Act, if someone is in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years they can be entitled to a share of the couple&apos;s property. A second issue in the case is that the former client asked for repayment of $100,000 he provided to the financial advisor that she used as a down payment on a home. After considering a range of factors about the relationship, including intimate details of the couple’s sexual practices, living arrangements, and activities, the judge concluded that they were not in a marriage-like relationship. With respect to the $100,000, when someone claims they received money as a gift they have the burden of proving this. The judge concluded that the financial advisor had not done this and she was ordered to repay the money.The case also raises important questions about the propriety of a financial advisor engaging in a romantic relationship with a paying client, to whom she owed a fiduciary duty. Follow this link for the c
150 years or parole ineligibility cruel and unusual and a credit card class action settlement The week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:The Supreme Court of Canada has found that making people ineligible to even apply for parole for 150 years is cruel and unusual punishment. In 1967 Canada repealed the Criminal Code provisions that allowed people convicted of murder to be put to death by hanging, except in the case of on-duty police officers and prison guards. These last exceptions were finally repealed in 1976. The death penalty provisions for murder were replaced by mandatory sentences of life in prison. As life sentences for murder remain mandatory, the only issue for a judge to decide is the parole ineligibility period. Being eligible to apply for parole does not mean that someone would be successful in getting parole. The primary issue when someone applies for parole is the safety of the community, and if a prisoner remains a danger, they may never actually receive parole.  The ineligibility period simply means that a prisoner could not even ask for parole. For second-degree murder, parole eligibility can be set at between 10 and 25 years. For first-degree murder, it is 25 years. Several years ago, parliament amended the Criminal Code to permit consecutive 25-year parole ineligibility periods when someone is convicted of the first-degree murder of more than one person. The Supreme Court of Canada concluded that prohibiting a prisoner from even applying for parole for longer than anyone might live is cruel and unusual punishment. Similar decisions were reached in Germany, France, and Italy in previous court cases in those countries. The Supreme Court of Canada concluded that a jail sentence with no possibility of release is degrading in nature and presumes that the offender is beyond redemption. To ensure respect for human dignity, Parliament must leave a door open for rehabilitation even in cases where the prospect of this is very low. The court found that the objectives of denunciation and deterrence are not better served by the imposition of excessive sentences and that beyond and certain threshold, these objectives lose all their functional value, especially when the sentence far exceeds the human life expectancy. Also, on the show, a series of class action cases involving fees charged to merchants for accepting payment by credit card is discussed. The class action claims had been based on various arguments including Competition Act provisions, civil conspiracy to injure and unjust enrichment. Ultimately, after more than a decade of work, a settlement was reached and approved by courts in the various Canadian jurisdictions that were involved. $131 million is available for distribution to businesses that accepted credit card payments any time between March 23, 2001, and September 2, 2021. To receive funds from the settlement a business needs to file a claim prior to September 30, 2022. Claims can be filed online at: https://www.creditcardsettlements.caFollow this link for a transcript of the show and links to the cases discussed.
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