Law Times

September 19, 2011

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Follow on 416-487-4447 • $4.00 • Vol. 22, No. 29 Untitled-3 1 5/5/10 3:55:30 PM Inside This Issue 3 LSUC Fracas 7 Bilingual Judges 9 Focus On Business/ Competition Law Quote of the week "It's just too diffi cult to draw a bright line between a blogger and a journalist. That's why the defence is — strictly speaking — called responsible communication rather than responsible journalism." — Paul Schabas, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, See Does, page 11 Covering Ontario's Legal Scene ntitled-1 1 ADR Connect: Find an ADR Professional Arbitrators Mediators September 19, 2011 7/5/11 9:40:55 AM Winkler urges federal-provincial talks Reforms hinge on expanded unified court, top judge says BY MICHAEL McKIERNAN Law Times O ntario's top judge, citing the link to progress on his proposed reforms, is calling on the provincial and federal governments to open talks on expanding the unifi ed family court across the province. Chief Justice Warren Winkler used his speech at the annual opening of the courts ceremony on Sept. 13 to reiterate his call for an overhaul of the family law system that he says is "too slow, too complex, too adversarial, and, above all, too costly." Th e unifi ed family court, which has juris- diction to hear family matters at both the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, currently sits in 17 loca- tions. According to Winkler, the compre- hensiveness of his planned reforms require the integration off ered by a unifi ed court. "To this end, I urge the two levels of gov- ernment to begin a dialogue on this important issue," he told the audience, which included judges from all three courts in Ontario and a host of legal dignitaries. "If real progress is go- ing to be made, there must be a fundamental reformation of family law. In order to make family law more accessible, it must be more aff ordable. To achieve this, the procedures must be simplifi ed and unnecessary steps removed, thus shortening the process and making it cheaper. Th is will allow families to resolve their disputes in a more effi cient and aff ordable manner, assisting them to more ef- fectively move on with their lives." Echoing an issue mentioned by Supreme Judges look on during the opening of the courts ceremony last week. Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Gov. Gen. David Johnston at the recent Ca- nadian Bar Association conference in Halifax, Winkler highlighted access to justice as a priority for the bar in Ontario. "Th is issue has attracted much discussion. It is now time for action. We must fi nd prac- tical measures to ensure that access to justice is broadened so that it does not become just a privilege for the few," Winkler said, adding that family law "cries out for reform." "Th ere is no other area of justice reform where we can have a greater impact on ordinary Ontarians." Former Law Society of Upper Canada treasurer Harvey Strosberg, standing in for current Treasurer Laurie Pawlitza, backed Winkler's call. "Family law is the greatest single legal need in Ontario," said Strosberg, who's returning from a recent illness. "Th e law society continues to See Top, page 4 Should court give credit for strict bail conditions? T BY SHANNON KARI For Law Times he sentencing decision in a high-profi le arson case may provide guidance on what kind of credit the court should give when a defendant is on strict bail conditions for a lengthy period awaiting trial. Ontario Superior Court Justice Todd Ducharme indicated he'd ad- dress the rarely adjudicated issue when he sentences Toronto busi- nessman John Magno on Sept. 23. Th is summer, a jury convicted Marie Henein believes John Magno should get substantial credit for the six years that bail conditions were similar to house arrest. TitlePlus_LT_Mar9_09 2/27/09 11:23 AM Page 1 Magno, 53, of manslaughter and orchestrating a plot to burn down the family's building supply store in Toronto's east end. Magno original- ly faced a charge of second-degree murder in the death of an accom- plice who died on Christmas Eve in 2001 while setting the Wood- bine Building Supply store on fi re. Th e fi re, one of the largest in To- ronto's history, required the services of more than 170 fi refi ghters and forced the evacuation of 50 homes in the area. Th e trial didn't begin until nine years after the fi re as co-ac- cused were tried fi rst and Magno fought a lengthy and unsuccess- ful legal battle related to the pro- visions for unlawful act murder in the Criminal Code. During arguments at the sentencing hearing last month, defence lawyer Marie Henein suggested her client should get "substantial credit" for the six years that bail conditions were similar to those of house arrest. 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She agreed he should re- ceive "some credit" for his pretrial bail but only for the part related to the fi rst two years when the condi- tions also restricted his ability to work. A variation in 2004 permit- ted Magno to assist his brother in the construction of a residence. Both the Crown and defence pointed to a 2006 decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal in R v. Downes in their submissions. "Th ere is not a lot of law in this area," noted Henein. Th e decision written by Jus- tice Marc Rosenberg reduced the sentence by fi ve months for the 18 months of house arrest pretrial bail imposed on a defendant with a See No, page 4 LT Digital version.indd 1 6/25/10 12:59:47 PM Click here to subscribe today to LAW TIMES Photo: Michael McKiernan

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