The February 2018 edition, Update No. 86, has just been released.
In This Issue
- Indeterminate Sentences Constitutional: SCC
- Ensuring Juries are Properly Instructed: MBCA
- Photo Lineup Identification Evidence: MBCA
- Role of Exceptional Circumstances in Sentencing “Limited and Rare”: MBCA
- 45 Months’ Delay Unreasonable: MBQB
- Recent Sentencing Decisions
- Provincial Court Notice and Form
- Recommended Reading
- Criminal Justice Conference: CBA
The Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench has issued the following new practice direction:
Beginning in February 2018, as a one-year pilot project, all pre-trial conferences for judge-alone trials in the case of new criminal matters will be managed by one of approximately eight judges. A first group of four of these pre-trial judges will be assigned to this project for the first six months of the year and a second group of four pre-trial judges will be assigned to this project for the second six months of the year. Each new criminal matter proceeding by judge-alone will be assigned to one of these pre-trial judges.
Please read the practice direction in full.
Criminal lawyers take note. The founder behind Rangefindr.ca has developed a freely accessible site monitoring the status of various mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines.
The website it created, called MMS.watch, gives legal professionals a chance to check which mandatory minimum sentences have been challenged or struck down as unconstitutional.
For more information check out this article published in The Lawyer’s Daily
Effective September 1, 2017, members of the Law Society of Manitoba will have free access to Rangefindr.ca, a sentencing digest database. The principals behind Rangefindr.ca have leveraged the content in CanLII to create an easy to use product.
Click a few tags that describe the kinds of cases you’re looking for — such as assault cases where the accused is a first offender — and rangefindr.ca tells you what sentences were imposed in those cases.
To access Rangefindr.ca, log in to the Members’ Portal on the Law Society’s site, select “Library Resources” from the left hand navigation pane, and click on the Rangefindr.ca logo.
The Manitoba Bar Association is setting up a webinar to learn how to get the most out of Rangefindr. Stay tuned for details.
If you can’t wait, my colleague Ken Fox at the Law Society of Saskatchewan wrote this tutorial.
The Manitoba Court of Appeal released a decision that contained a significant analysis of what constitutes a delay in court proceedings, and whether it warrants a dismissal. R. v. Schenkels, 2017 MBCA 62 originated as an appeal of a conviction by a jury for aggravated sexual assault, but also claims delay. Hamilton, J.A. also cites the even more recent Supreme Court of Canada decision of R. v. Cody, 2017 SCC 31.
These decisions demonstrate how long it takes for a matter to go from a charge to an acquittal or conviction. Guidance from the Court of Appeal should help keep it in check.