News: MCL Blog New Home

Welcome to the new home for Mack's Criminal Law Blog (MCLB). MCLB will continue as it has in the past providing up-to-date and insightful commentary on recent criminal law cases of interest to criminal law practitioners and judges. On this new site - Mack's Criminal Law - readers will have access to companion sites including a law enfrocement blog and forensic science page.

I hope you enjoy and come back often!


News: Latest issue of MCLB, preliminary hearings

Preliminary hearings are an interesting part of the criminal justice system. They are the source of much litigation and despite recent efforts by Parliament to curtail their scope and length, they appear to be more complicated and prolix than ever - at least in my experience.
Check out the latest Mack's Criminal Law Bulletin, published on Westlaw's criminal source database, for my thoughts on preliminary hearings.
While you are at it, sign up for a free trial subscription.

DG Mack

News: Child exploitation Legislation comes into force

The Federal government continued its battle against child exploitation in December.  On December 8, 2011 Bill C-22 came into force enacting provisions as set out in An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by person who provide an Internet service and related Regulations.
It applies to Internet service providers, including email providers and social networking sites.  The new legislation requires those identified providers to do the following:
  • "report tips they receive regarding Web sites where child pornography may be publicly available to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection; and
  • notify police and safeguard evidence if they believe that a child pornography offence has been committed using an Internet service that they provide.
The Department of Justice's announcement and backgrounder provide further information.
DG Mack

News: MCLB Issues 12 and 13 now online!

Issues 12 and 13 of Mack's Criminal Law Bulletin, published on Westlaw's criminal source database are now online.  In Issue 12 I discuss the definition of Serious Personal Injury Offences in the context of section 752.1 of the Code (order for DO/LTO assessment).  One of the cases discussed, R v Smith, 2010 ONSC 4725 is on its way to the Ontario Court of Appeal - let's see if they like my analysis of the issue.
In Issue 13 I discuss compelled roadside statements and the Supreme Court's recent dismissal of leave in the case of R v Soules, 2010 CarswellOnt 4183 (CA).
Take advantage of a special offer to get a free four month subscription to Mack's Criminal Law Bulletin!
DG Mack

News: New ASD

The Attorney General of Canada recently amended the Approved Screening Devices Order to recognize a new Approved Screening Device (for the purposes of section 254(2)).  The new device is the Drager Alcotest 6810
On its webiste Drager notes the following as one of the 6810's benefits:
The electrochemical sensor (fuel cell) of the Dräger Alcotest® 6810 reacts specifically to alcohol and excels with very short response times. Even with a very high alcohol content, the devices ensures quick measurements.
Another important feature of the 6810 is noted on another website (electrogasmonitors) to be its ability to obtain readings with "low" respiratory volume:  
Even with high alcohol concentration, the Dräger Alcotest 6810 reacts within a short period. Blowing resistance is low, therefore the test can also be used if the test person has a low respiratory volume. The automatic adjustment measures the respiratory flow and adapts the minimum volume in such a way that air is taken from deep inside the lungs. Manually triggered collection can even be used for people who are not consciously in a position to provide a breath sample. The device displays the test results on a backlit graphics display with LEDs in different colors and, with acoustic signals.
This feature will be helpful in rebutting the argument - to the extent it has any validity - that a person has a reasonable excuse for not providing a sample due to some medical issue.

DG Mack



News: The 2011 Clawbies

Yes its that time of year again.  No, not Christmas, the Clawbies!  The Clawbies, now in its sixth year, presents awards to recognize "the interesting, innovative, and informative sites that are the Canadian legal blogosphere's best and brightest". 
The Clawbies present awards for the best Canadian law blog, the best new blog and the best practitioner blog. 
Last year Michael Geist won the award for best Canadian law blog.  His blog focuses on copyright and related issues in the law.  Very informative yet easy to read.  A very impressive site indeed.
The award for the best practitioner blog was handed out to three blogs including the "Trial Warrior Blog" by Antonin Pribetic.  The range of topics on this blog is diverse but very interesting.  Check out the latest blog entitled Wrongfully Convicted Man Released Thanks to "Spectacularly Incompetent" Lawyers.
The award for best new blog was also handed out to three blogs.  One of them is Adam's Law Blog.  A very to the point and interesting blog for criminal lawyers written by Adam Goodman.   
Its impressive to see so many informative and quality Canadian law blogs and nice to see them recognized.  Good luck to everyone for the 2011 awards!
DG Mack

News: LAO Launches new and impressive website!

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a new column in the Ottawa Citizen to be authored by members of a local defence firm: Lack of Knowledge is Bad, Imperfect Knowledge may be Worse.  While I applauded the idea - to educate people on their right and obligations under the law - I queried whether that goal could actually be achieved in that form and with that perspective (and perhaps I pointed out how it might not have been achieved).
I recently became aware, thanks to one of my readers, of a new site launched by Legal Aid Ontario:  The site indicates that it "provides information, written in plain language, on bail, guilty pleas, peace bonds, types of sentences and more.  It also provides examples of commonly-used forms, checklists to prepare for going to court and contacting LAO...".
I have visited the website.  It has succeeded in its goal.  The site is user friendly.  It is informative.  It is refreshing to see people working toward the goal of educating the public and making information about the criminal justice system accessible and easy to understand.  While the site is aimed at assisting those charged with criminal offences, as anyone who works in the criminal justice system will appreciate, this site will go a long way in helping all of us who are involved in the criminal justice system. 
As reported in a press release, the Legal Aid Ontario webiste received more than 770,000 last year.  Undoubtedly that number will drastically increase with the launch of this new and very informative website.  Great work!
DG Mack