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This week at the SCC

|Written By David Dias

This week, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear a hodgepodge of six appeals. They include the case of lawyer Peter Cary facing contempt charges over violating a Mareva order. The court is also hearing the massive civil suit against Chevron for alleged environmental damage in Ecuador, which will test international jurisdiction in private affairs.

Dec. 8 – Newfoundland & Labrador – Day v. R.

Charter of Rights: Ryan Paul Day was acquitted of possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. At trial, the court found that his ss. 8 and 9 Charter rights had been violated and excluded evidence including marijuana, cellphones, and drug paraphernalia. On appeal, the Crown argued the judge erred in excluding the evidence. The SCC will review whether the appeal court erred in reintroducing the evidence.

Read the Newfoundland & Labrador Court of Appeal’s decision

Dec. 8 – Quebec – Wilcox v. R.

Criminal law: The appellant was convicted of sexual assault after he exposed a sex partner to HIV without that person’s knowledge. On appeal, the appellant argued that knowledge of his illness was immaterial because the sex partner would have consented regardless. The majority at the Court of Appeal dismissed that argument, but a dissenting justice would have allowed a new trial on the basis the trial judge had not applied R. v. W. in assessing the evidence as a whole. The SCC will review whether such an assessment was warranted. A publication ban is in place.

Read the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision

Dec. 9 – Ontario – R. v. Tatton

Criminal law: The respondent, Paul Tatton, was acquitted of arson after he left his girlfriend’s house with the stove on. At trial, he argued he was intoxicated and it was an accident. The judge took Tatton’s intoxication into account, ruling arson in this incidence was a specific intent offence and he was not satisfied the respondent left the stove on either intentionally or recklessly. The majority at the Court of Appeal dismissed the argument that self-intoxication is a general intent offence, rendering self-intoxication inadmissible as a defence. The SCC will review whether self-intoxication can be a defence in arson where it is deemed a specific intent offence.

Read the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision

Dec. 10 – Ontario – Carey v. Laiken

Civil procedure: Peter Carey, is a lawyer who transferred money from a trust account to his client, despite a Mareva injunction obtained by the respondent, Judith Laiken. She brought a motion of contempt against Carey, which was carried out. At the penalty stage, however, the trial judge allowed Carey to reopen the contempt motion. She found there was not sufficient evidence to rule that Carey had willfully violated the Mareva injunction. The appeal court, however, reinstated the contempt charges, ruling that violation was clear and that the trial judge should not have reopened the motion.

Read the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news stories:

Lawyer facing contempt charge just doing his ‘duty’, Law Times

Dec. 10 – Nova Scotia – R. v. MacLeod

Criminal law: Clarence MacLeod was convicted of murder after having been seen standing over his wife’s body with a large butcher knife. He was sentenced to automatic life in prison. Macleod, however, maintained his innocence throughout. On appeal, the verdict was overturned after counsel successfully argued the jury had not been instructed properly. The SCC will review whether the appeal court erred in overturning the guilty verdict.

Read the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news stories:

McLeod gets life, denies murder, The Chronicle Herald

Dartmouth man convicted of girlfriend’s murder wins new trial, CBC

Dec. 11 – Ontario – Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguaje

Foreign judgments: The respondents brought an action in Ecuador against Chevron for environmental pollution and won a US$9.5-billion judgment in that country. Chevron does not currently operate in Ecuador, however, so the respondents seek enforcement of the Ecuadorian decision in Ontario. Chevron has not acknowledged the authority of Ontario’s courts and brought motions for orders setting aside service ex juris, declaring the court has no jurisdiction, and dismissing or permanently staying the action. The Ontario Superior Court granted a stay on the basis there was no reasonable prospect of recovery since Chevron held no assets in Ontario. The SCC will review the test for jurisdiction in private international affairs. A sealing order is in place.

Read the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news stories:

Chevron granted leave to challenge Ecuador judgment in Supreme Court of Canada, National Post

Supreme Court will hear Chevron appeal in Ecuador environmental damages case, The Globe and Mail

Chevron challenges court’s jurisdiction over foreign award, Law Times




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