Weekly criminal law update – September 16, 2022

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  1. Check out my recent blog posts: Open Letter to Justice Minister Shandro RE: Legal Aid Alberta Funding – Moldofsky Law, Ghomeshi, Guilt and Gullibility – Moldofsky Law, Innocence is not a myth – Shakespeare, wrongful convictions and R v BEM, 2022 ABCA 207 – Moldofsky Law, and The train wreck that is Legal Aid Alberta – Moldofsky Law.
  2. A concerning conviction appeal is dismissed in R v McCrimmon, 2022 ABCA 289. Bad character evidence is not enough of an issue, essentially (para. 35), and the Crown’s summation of the law of sexual assault is good enough – if not correct (note that the panel refuses to address the question of whether the address was actually correct – paras. 26-27). The panel even manages an unwarranted dig at appellate counsel (“Appeal counsel has reviewed the jury charge in detail checking for errors” – para. 7).
  3. Crown application for multiple witnesses to testify remotely at a major fraud trial dismissed: R v Barry, 2022 ABQB 600.
  4. Edmonton Remand Centre trashed by Henderson J. in R v Starrett, 2022 ABKB 613. A gruesome manslaughter sentence was reduced by a mere 3 months (para. 114, citing “a gross violation of their duty to protect all prisoners at the ERC”) as a result of this state misconduct (rarely called out), and a further 4 months for vigilantism that may not have constituted state misconduct (para. 126). Surprisingly, Friesen-esque “bonus” sentences are not yet common for this offence.
  5. Wrongful Conviction Watch™: a horrendous U.S. wrongful conviction recently recognized in ‘Serial’ podcast case: Prosecutors move to vacate Adnan Syed’s conviction : NPR. Will be binge-listening to the 8-year-old podcast series on it – Serial. Seems to have included significant prosecutor/police misconduct – shocker, I know. Also, Police apologise for wrongful conviction of man executed 70 years ago | Cardiff | The Guardian, Illinois Innocence Project helps win release of wrongfully convicted Lake County man | NPR Illinois, Claiming Innocence, Alabama Death Row Inmate Seeks New Trial (usnews.com), Jury awards New York man with 13 alibi witnesses $5 million for wrongful conviction (nbcnews.com).
  6. Legal Aid: Opinion: Alberta’s legal aid system is being starved of funding – The Globe and Mail (free version), Starving legal aid is threatening Ontario’s justice system | The Star (free version), Barrister strike: Criminal law is not dying, it’s dead, says barrister – BBC News, Guest Post: Criminal barristers need the patience of monks but we have not taken vows of poverty – BarristerBlogger.
  7. Misc.: Green-lighting torture in Israel: A tragic, unifying court decision – The Jerusalem Post (jpost.com), The Credibility and Reliability of Memory at Trial (thelighthouseproject.ca), Cancel Culture – by Amna Khalid and Jeffrey Aaron Snyder (substack.com), Manitoba lawyers react to call for reverse onus bail changes for knife crimes – The Lawyer’s Daily (thelawyersdaily.ca), Uju Anya on Her Tweet About Queen Elizabeth II (thecut.com), Johnson v Hutchinson: Federal Judges Make Very Bad Amateur Scientists (ballsandstrikes.org), Domestic violence gravy train – Bettina Arndt (substack.com), Benjamin Mendy found not guilty of one count of rape – BBC News, Chief Justice John Roberts defends Supreme Court’s legitimacy | CNN Politics, The Victim Who Became the Accused | The New Yorker, Brooklyn Prosecutors Seek to Throw Out Scores of Convictions – The New York Times (nytimes.com).

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