Law Times

January 23, 2017

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

Issue link: http://digital.lawtimesnews.com/i/775626

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 15 of 15

Page 16 January 23, 2017 • Law Times www.lawtimesnews.com LAWYER LAUNCHES FREE DATABASE Toronto-based criminal defence lawyer Sean Robichaud has launched an online database that will eventually share all of his criminal law precedents for free. Robichaud has started up- loading precedents to his website in the hope it will make law more transparent and lawyers more ef- ficient. "Information as a whole is moving towards ease of availabil- ity online and law seems to be one of the last bastions where it's pro- tected so tightly as if they're trade secrets of a firm," he says. "I don't see it that way. I see it as something that can benefit us all." The lawyer has uploaded more than 300 of 10,000 documents to robichaudlaw.ca and expects the database will be fairly comprehen- sive by the end of 2017. Robichaud says he decided to create the database as he was getting weekly requests from lawyers to share precedents. "I just started thinking what's the big secret?" he says. "If I'm going to go to the effort of vetting these precedents so they can be shared with other lawyers, why not post them so they can ob- tain them at their own leisure and ease?" Robichaud says it will make lawyers more efficient, as they will be able to focus on more important tasks and will not have to focus on doing some of the more mundane work. The precedents will also give the public a greater appreciation of the complexity of law and make them aware of the dangers of repre- senting themselves, Robichaud says. He says he has no intention of monetizing the database at any point. RYAN PECK WINS SIDNEY B. LINDEN AWARD Legal Aid Ontario has given the Sidney B. Linden Award to Ryan Peck. Peck has served as the ex- ecutive director of the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario since 2007, and he has been credited with actively advocat- ing for low-income people who need access to legal services. LAO will present Peck with the award, which honours those who have demonstrated com- mitment to helping low-income people, at a ceremony at Os- goode Hall in February. CLEO LAUNCHES NEW JUSTICE WEBSITE Community Legal Educa- tion Ontario has launched a new online initiative that it hopes will help the public ac- cess reliable information to meet their legal needs. The website — StepsToJus- tice.ca — is being billed as the first of its kind and offers step- by-step information for people seeking legal information. CLEO hopes StepsToJus- tice.ca will provide people with answers to legal questions and problems in a variety of areas. YES, I AGREE 35 % 65 % NO, I DO NOT AGREE LAW TIMES POLL Law Times recently reported that the Ontario Court of Ap- peal upheld a finding of partial liability against the City of Ot- tawa and a bus driver for a fatal crash, even though another driv- er involved was impaired. Readers were asked if this was a reasonable ruling. Roughly 35 per cent said yes, findings of li- ability should factor in whether a person is a professional driver. The remaining 65 per cent said no, expectations of profes- sional and non-professional drivers should be identical. LT u Bizarre Briefs By Viola James u The InsIde story "Hand-held device! What hand-held device?" MOBY DICK'S BARRED IN B.C. VANCOUVER – Herman Melville's Moby Dick, published in 1851, is considered to be one of the greatest American novels by literary critics and the reading public alike. But there may be some people who have never heard of it. Take, for example, a building council in B.C. It is being sued by a business in Vancouver for blocking the lease of its restaurant property to Moby Dick's fish-and-chips franchise, because the council says the word "Dick" is offensive, ac- cording to Courthouse News Service. Plaintiff Mengfa International bought a unit in a commercial building in 2010 and in 2014 leased it to an Asian-fusion restaurant, The Change, for five years, according to Courthouse News. The Change fell on hard times, though, and, in May 2015, Moby Dick Restaurant, a fish-and- chips franchise, agreed to a lease and purchase arrangement, the news agency reports. But the building council wouldn't allow it, insisting that "the word 'Dick' in Moby Dick was an offensive term," Mengfa says in its Jan. 9 lawsuit. The defendant is The Owners of Strata Plan LMS 4025. The council also claimed a Moby Dick sign would hurt the value of neighbouring proper- ties, and that the restaurant would bring in- creased litter and violate city laws on odour, ac- cording to Courthouse News. Mengfa says the Moby Dick name and logo are "not offensive to the public, given its literary significance and fame," according to Court- house News, adding: "A seafood fish-and-chips restaurant at the commercial property, being it- self surrounded by the ocean and harbor, would not devalue the real estate property." Mengfa seeks declaratory judgment and damages for interference with business rela- tions, according to Courthouse News. SPEAKING OF, AHEM, CONTROVERSIAL . . . HOUSTON, Texas — Irish betting website Paddy Power is putting 4-1 odds on Donald Trump getting impeached within the first six months of his presidency, according to the Houston Press. And the website thinks it's even more likely that Trump will not finish his first term, as it gives him just 7-4 odds of completing four years in the White House, says the newspaper. Other popular Trump-related bets on Paddy Power, according to the Houston Press, include splitting with wife Melania Trump (15-1 odds) and painting the entire White House gold (500- 1 odds). HOLLYWEED PRANKSTER TO APPEAR IN COURT LOS ANGELES — A man who altered the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles to make it read "Hollyweed" will appear in court next month after surrendering to police. Zachary Cole Fernandez, 30, was booked for trespassing, which carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail, and released with a prom- ise to appear in court on Feb. 15, according to Los Angeles city councilman David Ryu's office and jail records, reports Reuters. Earlier this month, Fernandez told Vice Me- dia about scaling the sign to alter it. Ryu's office noted Fernandez did not damage the sign, ac- cording to Reuters. On New Year's Day, residents of Hollywood Hills awoke to find "Hollyweed" staring down at them in four-story, white letters from Los Angeles' Mount Lee, where the Hollywood sign was first erected in 1923. The prank occurred less than two months after California voters approved recreational use of marijuana in the state. This was despite a federal ban on the drug, according to Reuters. LT Sean Robichaud has started uploading precedents to his website in the hope it will make law more transparent and law- yers more efficient. • 40 issues a year covering Ontario's legal landscape • FREE digital edition and unlimited online access to past issues • FREE Canadian Legal Newswire, a weekly e-newsletter from the editors of Law Times and Canadian Lawyer Juror ruling prompts call to look at Criminal Code BY TALI FOLKINS Law Times ith the Ontario Court of Appeal having ruled on jurors' use of extrinsic informa- tion in a recent case, the president of the Criminal Lawyers' Association says it may be necessary to amend the Criminal Code in order to get a better handle on the issue. "You can't say if jurors are or are not doing this at any level that is ap- preciable because you only find out in the rare case where a juror hap- pens to mention something," says Anthony Moustacalis. "Maybe jurors really do obey the judge's instructions. In my experi- ence, it seems that they generally do. But do I really know? The an- swer is no. Maybe they're Googling stuff all the time." The only way to know for sure and assess the necessity of any changes to the jury system, accord- ing to Moustacalis, is to amend the Criminal Code to allow research- ers to interview jury members anonymously about their experi- ences. "The fact of the matter is that people are people and they might not always remember the limits of what they're allowed to do or they might stray," he says. The comments follow the ap- peal court's ruling in R. v. Farinacci, a case that demonstrated the ease with which jurors can now find information about the defendant outside of the evidence presented during the trial. In their ruling on June 3, a panel of three judges re- fused to overturn the convictions of two brothers for possession of the proceeds of crime and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine. The brothers, Lucas Farinacci and Leonard Fari- nacci Jr., had argued their right to a fair trial had been compromised because jurors in the case, with the help of Google and other sources, had come across information about them that hadn't come up in court. The appeal came about as a result of a chance event at a coffee shop. Prior to sentencing but after the brothers' conviction, someone at the coffee shop overheard one of the ju- rors, in a conversation with a friend, mention that another me mber of Zero-tolerance conundrum Lawyers say pendulum has swung too far against accused in domestic violence cases BY TALI FOLKINS Law Times he justice system has taken the idea of zero toler- ance in domestic assault to such an extreme that it's unfair to defendants and no longer works in the best interests of Ontario families, says a 40- year veteran of criminal law. It's an opinion, however, vociferously opposed by at least one lawyer who helps victims of domestic violence. Leo Adler, of Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman, says the issue of domestic assault has become "political football" over the last 25 to 30 years with largely undesirable results. While Adler emphasizes he doesn't want to diminish the tragedy of family violence, he says the situation has now reached a point where police called to family violence situa- tions are unduly afraid to release the defendant even in cases that don't appear serious. "Nobody wants to be the person who says, 'O.K., I'm going to release you,' because you might be the one in a million or whatever the statistic is who might end up killing your spouse," says Adler. "In a lot of these cases, there's no sign of violence, there's no sign of anything having occurred. You simply have the word of the complainant. And the person gets arrested and I can tell you that again in the majority of cases, the police don't even bother to try to take a statement from the accused, usually the male. . . . They don't ask because it doesn't make a difference because they're going to arrest you no matter what." Bail hearings in domestic violence cases, he says, are "a l- ways run on the presumption of guilt" and, if the court does grant bail, it's generally under strict conditions with the de- fendant required to live with a surety. The result, according to Adler, is often a divided family with the added financial strain OBA LAUDED Association honoured for mental-health efforts P4 CAMPAIGN SPENDING Bencher candidate calls for expense limits P6 FOCUS ON Legal Innovation 'In a lot of these cases, there's no sign of violence, there's no sign of anything having occurred,' says Leo Adler. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Silence, page 2 See Bail, page 2 There's no way to know if jurors are doing their own research on cases, says Anthony Moustacalis. PM #40762529 & $#&!& t7PM/P Follow LAW TIMES on www.twitter.com/lawtimes L AW TIMES T W Juror ruling prompts call to look at Criminal Code BY TALI FOLKINS Law Times ith the Ontario Court of Appeal having ruled on jurors' use of extrinsic informa- tion in a recent case, the president of the Criminal Lawyers' Association says it may be necessary to amend the Criminal Code in order to get a better handle on the issue. "You can't say if jurors are or are not doing this at any level that is ap- preciable because you only find out in the rare case where a juror hap- pens to mention something," says Anthony Moustacalis. "Maybe jurors really do obey the judge's instructions. In my experi- ence, it seems that they generally do. But do I really know? The an- swer is no. Maybe they're Googling stuff all the time." The only way to know for sure and assess the necessity of any changes to the jury system, accord- ing to Moustacalis, is to amend the Criminal Code to allow research- ers to interview jury members anonymously about their experi- ences. "The fact of the matter is that people are people and they might not always remember the limits of what they're allowed to do or they might stray," he says. The comments follow the ap- peal court's ruling in R. v. Farinacci, a case that demonstrated the ease with which jurors can now find information about the defendant outside of the evidence presented during the trial. In their ruling on June 3, a panel of three judges re- fused to overturn the convictions of two brothers for possession of the proceeds of crime and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine. The brothers, Lucas Farinacci and Leonard Fari- nacci Jr., had argued their right to a fair trial had been compromised because jurors in the case, with the help of Google and other sources, had come across information about them that hadn't come up in court. The appeal came about as a result of a chance event at a coffee shop. Prior to sentencing but after the brothers' conviction, someone at the coffee shop overheard one of the ju- rors, in a conversation with a friend, mention that another me mber of Zero-tolerance conundrum Lawyers say pendulum has swung too far against accused in domestic violence cases BY TALI FOLKINS Law Times he justice system has taken the idea of zero toler- ance in domestic assault to such an extreme that it's unfair to defendants and no longer works in the best interests of Ontario families, says a 40- year veteran of criminal law. It's an opinion, however, vociferously opposed by at least one lawyer who helps victims of domestic violence. Leo Adler, of Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman, says the issue of domestic assault has become "political football" over the last 25 to 30 years with largely undesirable results. While Adler emphasizes he doesn't want to diminish the tragedy of family violence, he says the situation has now reached a point where police called to family violence situa- tions are unduly afraid to release the defendant even in cases that don't appear serious. "Nobody wants to be the person who says, 'O.K., I'm going to release you,' because you might be the one in a million or whatever the statistic is who might end up killing your spouse," says Adler. "In a lot of these cases, there's no sign of violence, there's no sign of anything having occurred. You simply have the word of the complainant. And the person gets arrested and I can tell you that again in the majority of cases, the police don't even bother to try to take a statement from the accused, usually the male. . . . They don't ask because it doesn't make a difference because they're going to arrest you no matter what." Bail hearings in domestic violence cases, he says, are "a l- ways run on the presumption of guilt" and, if the court does grant bail, it's generally under strict conditions with the de- fendant required to live with a surety. The result, according to Adler, is often a divided family with the added financial strain OBA LAUDED Association honoured for mental-health efforts P4 CAMPAIGN SPENDING Bencher candidate calls for expense limits P6 FOCUS ON Legal Innovation P8 'In a lot of these cases, there's no sign of violence, there's no sign of anything having occurred,' says Leo Adler. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Silence, page 2 See Bail, page 2 There's no way to know if jurors are doing their own research on cases, says Anthony Moustacalis. PM #40762529 & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec t7PM/P +VOF Follow LAW TIMES on www.twitter.com/lawtimes L AW TIMES T W Subscribe to Law Times today for $205* and receive: Canlawyer.lawtimes@thomsonreuters.com | 416.609.3800 | 1.800.387.5164 Access a free preview at: bitly.com/LawTimes-FreePreview Order online at: www.lawtimesnews.com/subscribe *Plus applicable taxes How the legal community in Ontario gets its news @lawtimes Untitled-7 1 2017-01-17 4:23 PM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Law Times - January 23, 2017