You would be forgiven if you didn’t know whether our top diplomat in China was speaking on behalf of the Canadian government or the People’s Republic of China when he is reported to have told a state-owned Chinese language media on January 23, 2019 that he thought that Weng Wanzhou, the 46 year-old CFO of Huawei, had a good case to fight her extradition to the U.S.
John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, is quoted to have enumerated his reasons for favouring Weng’s side as: “One, political involvement by comments from Donald Trump in her case. Two, there’s an extraterritorial aspect to her case, and three, there’s the issue of Iran sanctions which are involved in her case, and Canada does not sign on to these Iran sanctions. So I think she has some strong arguments that she can make before a judge.”
Condemnation from Andrew Scheer, leader of the CPC, came quickly accusing McCallum of political interference and stating that if he (Scheer) were prime minister, he would fire him.
It is odd that a politically seasoned man as McCalllum a former Liberal cabinet minister, would so blatantly comment on a legal case presently before the courts. When do you ever see a politician do that? Odd, that is unless you understand that the Chinese have totally mishandled the Weng extradition and McCallum’s comments are a carefully orchestrated attempt by the Liberal government refuse to hand Weng over to the Americans without looking like they are caving into Chinese intimidation.
Canada has had a signed extradition treaty with the U.S. since 1974. Canada’s Extradition Act formally sets out the rules of extradition for all countries with which we have signed extradition agreements. Over the years, the extraditions process has been streamlined to make the process easier so much so that a fugitive has a better chance at winning the lottery than she has at winning her extradition hearing.
But winning the extradition hearing is secondary to the more important next phase of the extradition process. Once the judicial process is over and a court has ordered a fugitive to be extradited, she can appeal the judge’s order of committal to extradite to the federal government to intervene on her behalf.
It’s at the appeal stage that the extradition process becomes purely a political decision. The Extradition Act lays out the grounds that a Minister can refuse to hand a fugitive over; and, guess what? McCallum referred to three of them – whether the crime happened within the territory of the requesting party, whether a request is politically motivated; and, whether Weng’s impugned conduct would be considered illegal under Canadian law.
If Canadians have a shared value, it is surely a knee-jerk distrust of the motivations of the American government. When news first broke about Weng’s arrest, the media were initially skeptical of whether Washington’s alleged dealings with Iran could form the basis in Canada to ask for her extradition. President Trump fueled that suspicion by suggesting that he would use Weng’s extradition as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations with the Chinese. Public opinion was on her side.
But then the Chinese took a page out of the manual on how not to handle international relations and arrested Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat working in China, and then a second Canadian, Michael Spavor, and then most recently commuting a life sentence to capital punishment for Robert Schellenberg a Canadian convicted of Chinese drug crimes, and any good will the Chinese had with Canadians was out the window.
That is until McCallum made his comments. Perhaps the Liberal government is helping the Chinese by refocusing media attention on what Weng is being extradited for to soften the arguably correct decision that the Americans are using Weng as a pawn in their brinkmanship with China. It also doesn’t hurt that Canadian attitudes about Iran has softened making it all that easier for Trudeau to paint Washington as the bad guy. Do I need to say more about how easy the optics are going to be for Trudeau not to hand her over to American authorities with Donald Trump as president?
If China would only help-out by releasing the Canadians held in their custody Canadians would come around to their side again. If the Chinese did that, if I were Canada, I would utilize the Extradition Act’s power to move the extradition hearing to any location in Canada where it can be heard the fastest so I could send Weng back to China where she likely belongs.
The original article was written on: The Lawyer’s Daily by Sam Goldstein
Do we really need to change the definition of bestiality in Canada? I can’t believe I am writing a column about bestiality but the fact I am writing a column about Parliament’s need to change the definition of bestiality in the Criminal Code is exactly what’s wrong with criminal law today.
In case you live a bestiality-free life and missed it, in 2016 the Supreme Court of Canada acquitted a man of, well, bestiality for having Rover lick peanut butter off a part of his body that peanut butter was not meant for (R v. D.L.W. 2016 SCC 22). For once an eminently reasonable court said that the traditional definition of bestiality is exactly what you are thinking and so no offence had been committed.
That wasn’t good enough for one member of Parliament who created a YouTube video complaining about the psychological harm done to the dog. I am a simple criminal lawyer. I am certainly not a veterinarian nor am I an animal psychologist — I doubt that the MP is any of the above either — but I don’t think my dog cares much from what surface he eats his peanut butter; and it‘s pretty hard to be against a law that is supposed to be about protecting Rover. So, that’s how we ended up with a section in the federal Liberals’ criminal law reforms redefining bestiality as touching for a sexual purpose, just in case there are other Canadian dogs getting abused eating peanut butter.
Why am I so worked up about this? Because don’t you see? Politicians just love telling us how they’re making society safer by criminalizing yet one more human activity that doesn’t accord with their bourgeois values and tinkering with the justice system, adding a boot here and a steaming kettle there, as if it were a Rube Goldberg machine, to solve one problem only to find out that they’ve caused another problem with the quacking duck and falling dominoes.
A Saskatchewan man is acquitted of murder for shooting an Indigenous man and our Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould declares that the criminal justice system doesn’t work, so the solution is to get rid of peremptory challenges. Jian Ghomeshi is acquitted because his accusers colluded and so the solution is to create a law that requires defendants to turn over what evidence they have that the complainant might be lying because — well, because we can’t trust the complainant to tell the truth to the police that they haven’t been in touch with other witnesses or the defendant since the incident?
There’s gun crime in Toronto, so we have to ban handguns because the fact that we already ban handguns means politicians can’t look like they are doing something to make us safer, so they tell us we must ban handguns.
A person got in an accident while using a cellphone so we penalize that specific activity even though the person displays no actual impertinent driving — which we already penalize. If we must penalize activity while driving in the event that activity might affect a person’s driving, then we ought to penalize driving while eating cereal out of bowl in your lap which I’ve seen several people do on the 401.
I can’t open a newspaper without a columnist or politician telling me how there ought to be a new law against (you fill in the blank with your pet peeve) while, in the same breath, telling me they want to reduce the number of business regulations. Apparently, we’d be all the safer if drug companies could get their products to market faster by reducing the number of test trials, but we’re not going to be able to sleep at night if Rover is getting an illicit peanut butter high.
I’ve always believed that only a fool prefers safety over liberty and to never trust a politician who says he’s there to help you. But what do I know? I’m just a simple criminal lawyer.
The original article from The Lawyers Daily
You hooked up with someone you met on Tinder. Now the person says they did not consent or, worse, you find out the person lied about their age. Maybe one of your acquaintances is claiming you touched them sexually without permission. If any of these situations sound familiar to you, you could end up being charged with and convicted of a sexual assault.
In Canada, sexual assault is an indictable offence that could land you in prison for up to 10 years. If the person you are accused of sexually assaulting is under 16 years of age, you may face imprisonment for up to 14 years. Convictions for sexual assault and other sexual offences have additional consequences too. When convicted of such a crime you will be required to register on national and provincial sex offender and DNA databases. If you have been accused of a sexual assault, you should hire a sexual assault lawyer. Here’s what you look for to ensure you hire the right one:
The sexual assault lawyer should be qualified
When the stakes are so high, you should look for sexual assault lawyer with a number of years of experience successfully representing defendants in cases like yours. It may also be a good idea to consider a sexual assault lawyer who has been on the other side of the courtroom. Criminal defence lawyers who have worked as prosecutors know exactly how the Crown approaches cases. He can use that knowledge to carefully plan your defence.
The sexual assault lawyer should be accessible
Before you agree to work with a sexual assault lawyer, ensure the lawyer you are considering is accessible. Any lawyer you choose should provide you with a number of ways to reach him. When you leave messages for your lawyer, he should call you back quickly. It would also be a good idea to find a sexual assault lawyer who allows for access after business hours in case of an emergency.
Sexual assault lawyers should provide clear communication
When you meet with a sexual assault lawyer, he should help you to understand your case. So, instead of speaking with you using legal jargons that you are not familiar with, the lawyer should take the time out to clearly explain how the process works, the likely outcome of your case and the options that are available to you.
The lawyer’s fees should be reasonable
A reputable sexual assault lawyer will charge you reasonable fees in keeping with industry standards. He should provide you with a clear outline which shows all the fees and charges and exactly what services you will get in return for those fees and charges. The lawyer should tell you how and when you will be required to make these payments as well.
Do you need a sexual assault lawyer in Toronto?
From the moment you’ve been accused of a sexual assault, you should call a sexual assault lawyer. If you are in search of a sexual assault lawyer in Toronto, give us a call at Sam Goldstein Law. Sam Goldstein has practised criminal for his entire career which has spanned over 15 years. In the early years of his career, Sam worked as a Crown prosecutor at all levels of the courts in Ontario. While doing so, he represented the government in prosecuting a wide range of cases including sexual assaults. This gave him valuable experience that he now uses as the foundation for his defence of the same type of cases. So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and let us get started working on your defence.
OSHAWA — A prosecutor has called for a prison sentence of at least a decade for a woman convicted of importing fentanyl, citing the “explosion” of overdoses and deaths attributed to the powerful opioid.
“There’s a fentanyl epidemic that’s exploding across the country,” federal prosecutor Josh Frost said during a sentencing hearing Tuesday for Jacinda Hudson. “And it’s killing folks.”
Frost recommended a sentence of 10 to 12 years for Hudson, who was convicted in August of importing fentanyl and possession of the drug for the purpose of trafficking. The court was told that Hudson, 35, of Pickering, received 323 grams of the drug via mail and was subsequently arrested by the RCMP in 2016.
During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing in Oshawa, Frost said a significant penitentiary term is necessary to show society’s condemnation for the trafficking of a drug that has been blamed for a mounting number of deaths in Durham Region and across Canada.
“It’s a national emergency,” he told Superior Court Justice Robert Charney. “There needs to be a message sent to the community that the courts will not tolerate importing this poison.”
Defence lawyer Sam Goldstein suggested a sentence in the range of six to eight years, citing the duty of the court to strike a balance between punishment and rehabilitation for Hudson, a mother of three who maintains her innocence.
“We can never lose sight of the possibility of rehabilitation, no matter how horrendous the crime or its consequences,” he said following the hearing. “Ms. Hudson certainly understands the case law indicates significant prison time. She is merely asking the court to bear in mind that one day, she has to return to society.”
Charney is to deliver his sentence Jan. 14.
This article was originally published at Durham Region on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 | By Jeff Mitchell.
As I have detailed on these pages, our first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, honed his famous oratorical skills in the courtroom when he began his career as a criminal lawyer (John A. Macdonald at the [other] bar, Jan. 11). He was well on his way to becoming a real-life Atticus Finch until he took over the commercial practice of a leading Kingston lawyer upon the man’s sudden death. After that, Macdonald used his lawyering skills only to triumph in the court of public opinion. Criminal law was Sir John A.’s profession, but politics was his vocation.
Not so for our 13th prime minister. John G. Diefenbaker saw criminal law as both his profession and his vocation. And one cannot understand the man’s political career without understanding what made him tick as a lawyer. From The Bill of Rights to his decision to commute Steven Truscott’s death sentence to life, his actions as prime minister from 1957-1963 were rooted in his early career as a criminal lawyer.
In the summer of 1919, a young Diefenbaker, still wet behind the ears from law school, decided to set up his legal practice in the small prairie town of Wakaw, Sask. It was a decision not without thought. Dief confessed to his biographer that he had perused the town’s court dockets and concluded its inhabitants were quite litigious.
He was proved correct. Within two months of setting up his legal practice, a farmer, John Chernyski, retained the novice lawyer to defend him against a charge of criminal negligence for shooting a young boy who trespassed across his property.
Upon his arrest, Chernyski told the police he had been awakened early in the morning by the barking of his farm dogs. He had then grabbed his shotgun and fired at what he thought was a fox his animals had cornered. It was, in fact, a child.
Diefenbaker successfully argued that his client could not see the boy in the early morning light because his vision had not yet adjusted from leaving his well-lit house.
Word quickly spread of the young advocate’s creative defence and commanding courtroom presence. Soon Diefenbaker was inundated with criminal trials. Whether it was defending a murder charge with a convoluted story of self-defence (R. vs. Bourdon), or getting a murder confession tossed out on the basis of the feeble-mindedness of his client (R. vs. Olson), Diefenbaker mesmerized his juries with the use of his dramatic voice, his penetrating azure eyes and a raised right arm with accusatory finger pointing at some distant enemy. He would use the same dramatic techniques all his life to mesmerize the Canadian people into voting for the Progressive Conservative Party.
No criminal lawyer has a perfect record. Diefenbaker had his fair shares of losses. Perhaps the hardest for him was his miscalculation in R. vs. Wysochan. It was a sordid murder case involving a husband (Dief’s client Alex Wysochan) brandishing a revolver and threatening to shoot his wife’s lover in her presence. The cowardly lover jumped out of a window, reporting later that he had heard four shots. The wife ended up dead. Diefenbaker rejected an easy defence of intoxication that would have reduced his client’s charge to manslaughter; instead, he argued it was the lover who had killed the wife. On June 20, 1930, Alex Wysochan was hanged in the Prince Albert prison, protesting his innocence from the gallows.
Diefenbaker recalled in a CBC interview that it was his direct experiences as a criminal lawyer that brought him to oppose the death penalty. Many know that Steven Truscott was wrongly convicted of the murder of Lynne Harper. But few know it was Diefenbaker who granted him a reprieve.
Three years after the Chernyski case, Diefenbaker earned himself the reputation as a defender of minority rights. He successfully assisted Saskatchewan’s small French-speaking community fight legislation requiring English as the sole language of instruction.
It was a dangerous case to take in Saskatchewan’s anti-French and anti-Catholic political climate — but take it he did precisely because he was offended by the law’s discriminatory nature. It was this same sense of outrage against discrimination that fuelled Diefenbaker’s passionate defence of his treasured Bill of Rights.
Criminal law taught Deifenbaker when to seize the moment and press his advantage. On one occasion he defended a telegraph operator charged with manslaughter for failing to warn a conductor of an oncoming troop train carrying Canadian soldiers to the Korean War. At one point, the prosecutor — a retired Canadian colonel by the name of Pepler — clumsily responded to a Diefenbaker objection by barking that the case was not “about the death of a few privates going to Korea.” The jury was visibly shocked at his perceived callousness. What he meant to say was that the telegraph operator was technically charged with the single death of a CNR employee and not with the deaths of the 17 soldiers who perished in the tragedy. Nevertheless, Diefenbaker turned the jury against Pepler by never missing a chance to remind the jury of his military antecedents. Diefenbaker won the case.
Diefenbaker was just as sharp seven years later when a newly minted Liberal leader by the name of Mike Pearson stood in the house and demanded that Diefenbaker’s government resign for its mishandling of the economy — meaning the reins of power be handed back to the Liberals without an election. Diefenbaker knew immediately he had his election issue. He pounded the Liberals for their arrogance for 10 days before dissolving parliament and, much like in 2011, the Conservatives returned with a commanding majority.
Unfortunately, Diefenbaker’s cunning failed him in 1966. As a young lawyer back in Wakaw in 1923, he knew how to spot and how to deal with the enemy. When in 1923 a big-city law firm from Prince Albert sent over an articling student to set up a law office in Wakaw — a student who started romancing Dief’s corporate clients — Diefenbaker immediately reported them to the Law Society for allowing their student to practise unsupervised. But he never saw Dalton Camp’s betrayal at the 1966 convention coming. His own party president asked for a leadership review behind the great man’s back. He lost and was replaced by Robert Stanfield.
If only Diefenbaker had been as guileful a politician as he was a lawyer.
This article was originally published at National Post on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 @ 7:30 AM | By Sam Goldstein.
(November 23, 2018, 2:36 PM EST) — Do we need to make Canadian laws easier for people to commit suicide when they are terminally ill?
Audrey Parker, who took her own life in late October, thought so. The 57-year-old Haligonian and former image consultant had advocated that the two-year old assisted-suicide law be amended to allow the terminally ill to pre-approve assistance ending their lives.
Ms. Parker is quoted as stressing that the law had to be changed because anyone approved for medically assisted death must be conscious and mentally sound at the moment they grant their final consent for lethal injection.
She pointed out that she would have been denied her wish to end her life with medical assistance if she had been incapacitated by her advanced illness of the pain medication she was taking.
“Dying is a messy business,” she said.
Should parliamentarians accede to her request dying will become all that messier. The Counsel of Canadian Academics is submitting three reports to a parliamentary subcommittee studying the matter this December in favour of the issue.
Requiring a terminally ill person be conscious and of sound mind when consent is given was included in the legislation to protect the vulnerable. Allowing for the terminally ill to pre-approve their euthanasia opens the doors for the archetypical greedy children encouraging mom or dad to hand over their inheritance earlier rather than later. It precludes the dying from taking advantage of medical advances. A few years ago, AIDS was a death sentence; now people can live out their natural lives. It would not be moral to follow a person’s lethal instructions made yesterday when a cure is available today.
This is not the only assault on euthanasia fighting for easier access. Despite the public’s sympathy over the senseless and sad suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade this year, assisted suicide advocates to want the existing law to include chronic depression.
Listening to the public discussion on euthanasia requires a good session of mental flossing afterward.
There is no “Right to Die” as advocates often are fond of saying. Suicide was never a crime in Canada. Asking another person to help you exposed that person to culpable homicide. The Supreme Court of Canada’s Carter v. Canada 2016 SCC 4 decision eliminated that exposure by carving out an exception to allow adults with grievous and irremediable conditions to have physician-assisted suicides.
Ms. Parker would have been at liberty: To ask for help in committing suicide; to choose the time and place to end her life; and, to choose her means.
She passed peacefully in her own home by her own hand. And if she was concerned that her disease physically debilitated her from taking her own life and physically prevented her from any form of communicating her instructions, she could have arranged her affairs to include a “Do Not Resuscitate Order” or any other preventative directive that would have prolonged her life.
George Grant, one of Canada’s and the world’s deepest thinkers, located the origin of this debate as a problem of modernity. Technology gives us the ability to shape our world, but it cannot tell us whether it is good to do so. By limiting ourselves to asking whether we can, those on the side of progress align themselves with the side that answers yes.
In so doing, he wrote, technology becomes tyrannical, coming cozily and on cat’s feet “with the denial of the rights of the aged, the denial of the rights of the mentally retarded, the insane, and the economically less-privileged, it will come with the denial of rights to all those who cannot defend themselves.”
This article was originally published at Lawyer’s Daily on Friday, November 23, 2018 @ 2:36 PM | By Sam Goldstein.
On October 17, 2018, recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada under the Cannabis Act. There are now strict rules in place to govern the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis. If you are not familiar with these new rules, you may find yourself being charged with a drug offence. So, here are some things that are still illegal though cannabis has been legalized:
Possession of an excessive amount of marijuana
While you can possess marijuana for recreational use, you are not allowed to have an unlimited amount. Each person is only allowed to have 30 grams of dried cannabis in his or her possession at any given time. For fresh cannabis, you can legally possess up to 150 grams. If you have cannabis seeds you are allowed to have 30 seeds as each seed is considered as an ounce.
Having more than four cannabis plants
You are now allowed to have a few home-grown cannabis plants for personal use unless you are living in Quebec or Manitoba. In Quebec and Manitoba, it is still illegal to grow any cannabis at home. In the rest of Canada, you are allowed to grow up to 4 cannabis plants. If you live with someone else, note that the law allows for 4 plants per household, not 4 plants per person.
Possession of a budding or flowering cannabis plant in public
Yes, the law allows you to have a few cannabis plants, but you may find yourself in legal trouble if you are found in possession of a flowering or budding plant in public. You can still move your plants from one location to another; as long as you ensure they do not have any buds or flowers. A budding or flowering plant in public could land you in prison for up to 5 years.
Selling marijuana without a without a licence
If you want to sell marijuana, you will need to have a licence to do so. You may, however, give marijuana away for free. This marijuana must be dried and be 30 grams or less.
Distributing marijuana to a minor
If you decide to share your cannabis with someone who is a minor, it is a crime. Committing such an offence could mean spending up to 14 years in prison.
Possessing illicit cannabis
Cannabis, even in legal amounts, is illicit if it is produced, sold or distributed by someone without the legal authorization to do so. Therefore, if you bought marijuana from an unlicensed distributor or if you got it from a minor or someone with more than the allowed number of plants, you are committing a crime.
Importing or exporting cannabis without authorization
If you are planning to take a trip outside of Canada, do not pack your cannabis. It is still illegal to travel internationally with or to ship cannabis unless you have a licence to import or export the product.
Do you need a drug charges lawyer in Toronto for any drug-related offence?
These are just some of the grey areas that have been created since the legalization of cannabis. If you found yourself in legal trouble for a drug offence, our drug charges lawyer, Sam Goldstein, can help. If you already have a drug conviction, Sam Goldstein will fight to have that conviction overturned through appeal. So, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of Toronto’s most experienced drug charges lawyer. Let him help you avoid having a drug conviction on your record.
If you have been accused of a crime or you are already facing criminal charges, you should never hesitate to hire a criminal lawyer. Here’s why:
Criminal lawyers know what they are doing
No matter how intelligent you are, you will not have the knowledge and skill required to defend yourself in a criminal case before the courts; unless you have studied and practised law. Even then, representing yourself in a criminal case would not be a good idea. Criminal lawyers, prosecutors, police and judges all hire an attorney when they charged with criminal offences. So, why wouldn’t you? With years of training and legal practice, a criminal lawyer will have the ability to form sound legal arguments and tackle the complicated matters that may arise from your case.
A criminal lawyer is your advocate
In the justice system, your criminal lawyer is the only one who will fight for you. When you go to court, the prosecutor will present a well-planned case in an effort to prove that you are guilty of the crime you’ve been accused of. Your lawyer then has the job of refuting the prosecution’s claim to convince the judge or jury that you are innocent. To do this your lawyer will use his or her knowledge of the law and draw from experience to find loopholes in the prosecution’s case. Your lawyer will also find witnesses and experts to speak on your behalf.
Criminal lawyers are excellent negotiators
Plea bargaining is an important part of most criminal cases, even though all negotiations do not end with a plea deal. Plea bargaining is the process whereby the prosecution and a defendant attempt to come to an agreement in which the defendant may plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more serious charge to be dropped.
When a case goes to court, no one knows what the outcome will be. With a plea bargain, you do not have to take the gamble. A plea bargain might also help you to save money on your legal fees as it can help you to resolve a criminal matter faster. Experienced criminal lawyers are skilled when it comes to negotiating. This may prove helpful in your case.
Innocence is not enough to have a case dismissed
You might be of the impression that you do not need a criminal lawyer because you know you did not commit the crime. However, simply being innocent is not enough. Just ask one of the many innocent people imprisoned because they were not able to prove their innocence to a judge or jury. Do not take any chances with your freedom. Hire an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you.
Are you looking for a criminal lawyer in Toronto?
If you are in search of a criminal lawyer in Toronto, give us a call at the law offices of Sam Goldstein. For Sam Goldstein, criminal law has been the foundation of his entire career. He first worked as a prosecutor at all levels of the courts in Ontario. Sam’s daily duty was to represent the government in prosecuting cases that covered a wide range of criminal matters. From this experience, Sam gained valuable knowledge from “the other side”. He now uses this knowledge as the foundation of his work as a defence lawyer who diligently defends the rights of the accused. That is why he is one of the top criminal lawyers in Toronto.
So what are you waiting for? If you’ve been accused of or charged with assault, fraud, forgery, kidnapping, theft, gun, weapon and firearm offences, cybercrimes, obstruction of justice, murder, manslaughter or any other criminal offence, contact us today.