Ottawa Criminal Lawyer Postings

Release: Michael A. Johnston publishes in Criminal Law Quarterly - "Whelan Still Waiting"

Michael A. Johnston's article "Whelan Still Waiting" has been published in the Criminal Law Quarterly (at (2018), 66 C.L.Q. 19): Patrick Whelan received a "short drop" and died slowly. His procedurally flawed execution was the tragic punctuation to a death sentence passed pursuant to a procedurally flawed trial and appeals. The trial and appeals were, individually […]
September 13, 2018

Release: Michael A. Johnston submits memorandum to Parliament about Bill C-75

On 1 September 2018, Michael A. Johnston submitted a memorandum to Parliament about Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, in particular on the proposed changes to jury selection procedures: Representativeness is, therefore, a shield for an accused person, not a […]
September 2, 2018

Canadian criminal justice: Sentencing

When a defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty after a trial, their case proceeds to a sentencing hearing. At this hearing, the judge must decide what sentence to impose. The judge's decision must be based on the principles of sentencing set out in the Criminal Code and in the case law. The fundamental principle is "proportionality" (that […]
July 2, 2018

Release: Michael A. Johnston publishes article in Law Times

Michael A. Johnston published an article on the Government of Canada's proposed Bill C-75, titled "Challenging trial by jury without cause," in the 4 June 2018 edition of Law Times: Trial by jury is constitutionally entrenched in our criminal justice system, but more subtle is its critical role to our democracy. Jury nullification — the […]
June 6, 2018

Canadian criminal justice: Trial

A trial is a formal hearing into a regulatory or criminal offence. At a trial, the prosecution is called upon to prove that the defendant is guilty of the offences and the defendant has an opportunity to defend against the prosecution. At the end, the presiding "trier of fact" - either a judge or a jury […]
May 15, 2018

Canadian criminal justice: Pre-trial procedures

Before a case goes to trial, it may involve one or more pre-trial procedures. There are many different kinds of pre-trial procedures, but the two most common are (1) preliminary inquiries and (2) applications to admit or exclude evidence. Preliminary inquiries  In some circumstances, a defendant may have the right to hold a preliminary inquiry. This procedure is available […]
April 1, 2018

Canadian criminal justice: Guilty plea

When a person is charged with an offence, they have the right to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” When a person pleads guilty, they give up their right to a trial, they give up their right to make the prosecution prove their case, and they admit that they committed the essential elements of the offence. […]
October 10, 2017

Canadian criminal justice: Post-charge diversion and peace bonds

In some cases, charges can be resolved without a trial and without a plea of guilt. The two most common ways to resolve charges without findings of guilt are post-charge diversion and peace bonds. These options are normally available where the defendant is a first-time offender or where the prosecution recognizes that its case is […]
June 15, 2017

Canadian criminal justice: Administrative phase

Once a defendant has been either released on bail or detained in custody pending trial, their case will move into an “administrative phase.” This phase includes a number of administrative court appearances before a justice of the peace in the Ontario Court of Justice’s “remand court” or a judge in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s […]
May 25, 2017

Canadian criminal justice: Judicial interim release

After someone has been arrested for an offence, the criminal justice system must determine whether that person should be kept in custody or released from custody while they wait for the case to finish. This part of the Canadian criminal justice system is called “judicial interim release” or “bail.” In some cases, the police officer […]
May 11, 2017