Law Times

February 8, 2016

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Page 16 February 8, 2016 • Law Times OHRC INTER- VENES IN CASE The Ontario Human Rights Commission will be intervening in Rob- erts v. Toronto Police Services Board, an ap- plication before the Hu- man Rights Tribunal of Ontario that raises the issues of racial profiling and discriminatory use of force. In December of 2014, Rohan Roberts was walking to a friend's Christmas party in the Jane Street and Finch Avenue area of Toronto when he was approached by two Toronto Police Service officers. Roberts alleges that the officers demanded his identification and ran his information through several police databases. He alleges that following this, he was arrested, hand- cuffed, and dragged to a nearby grassy area and beaten. He sustained injuries that required treatment in hospital and charges of assaulting and threatening the police officers against him were subsequently dropped. Roberts asserts that he was the victim of racial profiling and discriminatory use of force based on race. In a press release announcing the intervention, the OHRC said it will argue the case must be viewed in the context of the overrepre- sentation of African-Canadians in carding activities of the TPS and disproportionate use of force by police on African-Canadians. OHRC chief commissioner Renu Mandhane stated in the release: "This case exemplifies how little progress has been made. We are now turning to legal action so that officers and administrators are held accountable. Racialized communities can't wait any longer." BLAKES WELCOMES 12 NEW PARTNERS Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP has announced the addition of 12 new partners across four of its Canadian offices, including three in Toronto. Rahat Godil, who specializes in complex commercial litigation and international arbitrations and also has experience in class actions and constitutional litigation, joins the Toronto team along with Da- vid Rosner, whose expertise focus- es on Canadian competition law and foreign investment law, and Elizabeth Sale, an expert on finan- cial regulatory matters, including consumer protection and fintech. LAW FOUNDATION JUSTICE FELLOWSHIP CALL OPENS The Law Foundation of Ontario has announced it is now accept- ing applications for its Ontario's Community Leadership in Jus- tice Fellowship program for both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic terms. Fellows are se- nior employees of public interest organizations and are funded up to a $50,000 maximum to attend an Ontario university, law school, or community college. The focus is on improving access to justice and provides an opportunity for professional development by un- dertaking research, teaching, or co-teaching new course material and mentoring. Candidates do not need to have a law degree, but they must be in a pubic in- terest organization dedicated to law reform, legal advocacy, or the justice system. The deadline for applications is April 29. Full de- tails of the program and applica- tion process can be found on the foundation's web site. LAW TIMES POLL In the eyes of our readers, the James Forcillo verdict will look good to the general public, but only in glancing. Last week, we asked if people felt the verdict against Forcillo for attempted murder in the death of Sammy Yatim will improve the public's perception of the justice system. Only 56.5 per cent of the respon- dents felt that yes, they believe the verdict will help restore pub- lic confidence and the conviction of attempted murder was fair in the circumstances. That left 43.5 per cent who said no, the verdict was not justified and will not en- hance the way Canadians view the justice system nor those who work within it. LT u Bizarre Briefs By Viola James u The InsIde story Renu Mandhane, chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. © 2015 Stewart. All rights reserved. We put legal professionals front and centre and we put our efforts into keeping real estate transactions where they belong – in your office. Learn more about our level of support, call (888) 667-5151 or visit Ally Untitled-2 1 2015-09-30 4:01 PM DANCING TOWARD DEPORTATION? GLASTONBURY, Conn. — A Russian ball- room dancing teacher is facing deportation, ap- parently because ballroom dancing is no longer considered to be an arts occupation. WFSB reports that Alexander Konovalov moved to Connecticut in the summer of 2012 as a ballroom dance instructor for Fred Astaire studios. The teacher became a student favourite, training students and participating in charity events. However, he is now facing deportation after his Visa to stay in the U.S. was rejected. "I love it here, I want to stay," said Konovalov, according to WFSB. "My life is here with my students, teaching, and I like Fred Astaire because of all the oppor- tunities they give teachers like me, from abroad." His application to stay in the U.S. has been rejected twice so far by immigration officials. Now, Konovalov has turned to U.S. Sena- tor Richard Blumenthal for help, who said the problem is immigration officials have changed the rules. "He was granted a Visa as an artist because he's a ballroom dancer. Then they decided ballroom dancing is no longer an artist occupation, it is ath- letics," Blumenthal said, according to WFSB. Blumenthal's now asking officials to take a second look at his appeal. "We can mince words or split hairs, but the fact of the matter is, he's simply trying to re- new the same Visa, doing the same thing, and they've changed the rules of the game," Blumen- thal said. Konovalov will be deported if his third re- quest is not successful. WFSB reports he's hired an attorney to assist with the process. SPORTS FAN FACES JAIL FOR FLYING FORBIDDEN FLAG PUNJAB, Pakistan — A Pakistani man has been arrested for hoisting the f lag of arch ri- val India on his roof, an act police described as "anti-state" but which the accused says was a tribute to Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, officials said. Umar Draz, from the eastern Pakistani dis- trict of Okara in Punjab, was charged under the Pakistan Penal Code, which is reserved for crimes considered contravening Pakistan's sovereignty and carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Police said they received information on Monday that Draz had hoisted the Indian f lag. He went on the run, but police managed to find him on Tuesday. "It's illegal to hoist the f lag of another coun- try," police officer Ismail Khan said. Draz was presented before a local court and sent to jail while he awaited trial. The detained man told the media that he is a fan of Kohli, who secured India's victory in the Twen- ty20 International against Australia this week. Police confirmed that Draz had photographs of the cricketer all over his house. Majority-Hindu India and majority-Muslim Pakistan became two different countries in 1947 when they became independent of Britain. They have since fought three wars and both claim the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. Protesters in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir are regularly arrested for hoisting Pakistani f lags and chanting slogans in support of Pakistan. It's not the first time someone has been in trouble for a f lag. According to Radio New Zealand Interna- tional and Amnesty International, Filep Karma was convicted and jailed in Indonesia for rais- ing a f lag. Karma is an advocate for Indonesia's Papuan population. Karma had been found guilty of treason in 2004, for raising a f lag with a Papuan symbol at an event in Indonesia. Radio New Zealand International reports the United Nations had condemned Karma's detention as "arbitrary." Karma was freed in 2015.

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