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May 12, 2014

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By yamri Taddese Law Times udges who creatively circumvent mandatory minimum sentences should perhaps "resign and run for Parliament," says the co-author of a new paper in defence of mandatory minimum sentences. Following reports of judges who have found ways not to apply mandatory minimum sentences or victim surcharges, two Bennett Jones LLP lawyers say a judge's role is to uphold laws deemed to be constitutional. "If it is constitutional, then it must be up- held and to the extent that you want the law changed, it is for Parliament to do that and it's not for judges to try and circumvent the law," says lawyer Lincoln Caylor, one of the authors of the paper, "Parliamentary restrictions on judicial discretion in sentencing: A defence of mandatory minimum sentences," published by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. "If judges think the law should be changed and it is constitutional, they should resign and run for Parliament," he adds. "Judges who ignore or otherwise circum- vent mandatory minimums act contrary to the offi ce that they have sworn to uphold," the authors argued in the paper. "Ignoring mandatory minimums is no more acceptable than would be ignoring mandatory maximums." ey continued: "Today, the public would react with outrage if a judge purport- ed to impose a death sentence. However, set- ting aside the obvious diff erence, imposing such a sentence would be no diff erent from a constitutional law perspective than refusing to apply a mandatory minimum that passes constitutional muster." Some Ontario judges have recently found ways to work around legislation that takes away their discretion to waive victim fi ne surcharges by sometimes giving criminals up to 50 years to pay them and, in some cas- es, not requiring them to pay at all. Like the judges who are reticent to im- pose the new laws, many observers have lamented crime legislation that curtails ju- dicial discretion. But Caylor and co-author Gannon Beaulne say: "Judicial discretion in sentencing has never meant an unfet- tered entitlement to impose any sentence deemed appropriate by a particular judge." "Critics who are against mandatory minimums generally say that they are against mandatory minimums in principle because they feel a judge should have all the discretion," Caylor tells Law Times. "Our view and the thesis of the paper is that mandatory minimums, when properly set out and [they] do limit judicial discre- tion, [the court is] still able to set an appro- priate sentence." Rob Ford's counsel known as low-key 'people's person' By yamri Taddese Law Times ho is Dennis Mor- ris, the lawyer for beleaguered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford? Friends and colleagues say Morris is a "people's person" and suggest it's no wonder a politician who o en paints himself in that same light would choose him as his counsel. In the nearly 10 years he prac- tised criminal law out of 127 John St. in downtown Toronto, lawyer Greg Lafontaine says he came to know Morris, his next-door neighbour at the nondescript offi ce at 129 John St. In the criminal law bar, Morris has a reputation as an "exceptional negotiator" also known for his subtleties and his ability to keep things under the radar, according to Lafontaine. "Dennis is a lawyer who is never really worried about capturing the limelight. It's not as though he's somebody who is involved with Mayor Ford because of a desire to get attention," says Lafontaine. Lawyer John Rosen, who has known Morris since his call to the bar in the early 1970s, says the mayor's counsel has always been someone who works on his own rather than forming partnerships with colleagues. He has had a busy practice with "a lot of quality cases on the go all the time," according to Lafontaine. Some lawyers found it surprising Ford didn't go to "the usual suspects" on Bay Street when he got into trou- ble, says Rosen. But Morris, his peers say, has friends everywhere in the criminal justice system. "He's always been somebody who's been completely committed to his clients' best interest and he works well with other players in the justice system," says Lafontaine. Choosing someone like Morris for a lawyer is consistent with Ford's "populist im- age," Lafontaine adds. "He has selected a lawyer who is very much a people's person, much like the image he's cra ed for him- self. [Morris] has got friends in every aspect of the criminal justice system — I mean from prosecutors to police offi cers to members of the judiciary LEGAL ACCOUNTING & PRACTICE MANAGEMENT | 800.340.3234 Untitled-1 1 14-04-29 10:16 AM Lawyers offer contrarian view on sentencing laws Judges who circumvent mandatory minimums should 'run for Parliament' MARATHON CASE More developments in Molson brewery matter P3 ONTARIO ELECTION Voters left with inconvenient choice P6 FOCUS ON Running Your Practice P8 Lincoln Caylor has co-written a paper defending mandatory minimum sentences. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Morris, page 4 See Victim, page 4 In choosing Dennis Morris as his lawyer, Rob Ford has turned to someone who's consistent with his 'populist image,' say colleagues. PM #40762529 TORONTO | BARRIE | HAMILTON | KITCHENER 1-866-685-3311 | cLeish Orlando_LT_Jan_20_14.indd 1 14-01-15 3:15 PM $4.00 • Vol. 25, No. 17 May 12, 2014 Follow LAW TIMES on l aw TIMes Lawyers offer contrarian view on sentencing laws l aw TIMes J W

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