Amendment makes assault on a TTC driver an ‘aggravating circumstance’

Amendment makes assault on a TTC driver an ‘aggravating circumstance’

On behalf of Neuberger & Partners LLP posted in violent crimes on Tuesday March 10, 2015.

When a court deems that a criminal offence was committed under “aggravating circumstances,” sentencing may be increased. Examples of aggravating circumstances recognized by Canadian courts include the following:

  • Evidence that the defendant abused someone younger than 18
  • Evidence that there was a relationship of trust or authority between the defendant and the victim
  • Evidence that an assault or other criminal offence was motivated by prejudice or hate
  • Evidence that the defendant abused his or her spouse
  • Evidence that the defendant committed a terrorism offence
  • Evidence that the offence benefited or was otherwise linked to a criminal organization

A recent amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code adds a new aggravating circumstance: assault of a public transit operator.

According to Senator Bob Runciman, who introduced the bill, each year in Canada roughly 2,000 public transit operators are assaulted. The president of the union that represents Toronto Transit Commission workers stated that assaults on TTC drivers happen at a rate of about four a week.

The amendment specifies that a “public transit worker” is a person who drives a bus, train or taxi cab to transport the public. The new bill does not specify that assault on a transit collector is necessarily an aggravating circumstance, though the union president suggested that his organization would seek to have the legislation amended to cover all transit workers.

Assault charges can lead to very serious consequences, including prison sentences, fines and court-ordered treatment. If you have been accused of assault, then it is crucial that you speak with a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. A defence lawyer can investigate your case, scrutinize the evidence against you, gather defence evidence, prepare you for court, and develop a legal strategy for protecting your rights and freedom.

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On behalf of Neuberger & Partners LLP posted in COVID-19 on Tuesday March 17, 2020.

At Neuberger and Partners, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and have implemented safety measures to ensure the safety of our clients and staff. Our priority is and always will be the health, well-being and safety of our staff, clients and colleagues.

We have put in place various measures to prevent and minimize the impact of COVID-19:

  • In addition to standard hand-washing habits, our staff are washing hands before and after every client interaction;
  • All individuals entering our office will be required to use our hand sanitizer to ensure the safety of our other clients and staff;
  • Regular disinfecting of our offices, public areas, meeting rooms and board rooms as well as increasing the frequency of disinfection of higher-traffic surface areas;
  • If a lawyer or client who has a scheduled meeting is feeling unwell, they will be strongly encouraged to stay home;
  • For the time being, we will avoid greeting clients and colleagues with our usual handshakes;
  • We will make every effort to ensure our firm will be stocked up with extra tissue and alcohol-based hand sanitizer; and
  • We will monitor and stay informed from the Government of Canada and World Health Organization for facts as they become available. We will ensure all staff and team members are educated on symptoms and are well informed on prevention and best practices.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will the firm still run if there are closures?

  • We are committed to assisting our clients. We remain open to assist our clients at this time (following aforementioned standards for health and safety). For clients who wish to communicate with our firm virtually, we have the technology for virtual meetings and are able to respond to the needs of our clients in a manner best to protect our staff and clients’ health.

Are staff and lawyers set up to work virtually?

  • All lawyers and staff are set up to work virtually and continue to assist clients and one another remotely. All lawyers are available via telephone, email and virtual video conferencing.

What is the court situation? How will we deal with court closures?

  • At this time, the Superior Court of Justice is closed from March 17, 2020 to June 1, 2020 – unless a judge orders otherwise.
    If you have a March matter, your matter will be postponed to June 2, 2020.
    April matters will be postponed to June 3, 2020 and May matters will be pushed to June 4, 2020.
  • Similarly, the Ontario Court of Justice will be closed for 10 weeks for all out of custody matters in criminal practice court. In custody matters will still be addressed. It is unclear if out of custody matters such as trials or preliminary hearings will continue since the courts have left this decision to the discretion of the judges. However, Bail courts will remain open for the time being.
  • The Court of Appeal for Ontario has suspended all scheduled appeals until April 3, 2020. But we are still able to file materials and apply for urgent appeals to be heard.
  • We will advise clients by email of their next Court date.

How can payments be made?

  • Payments can be made via e-transfer and visa payments can be made over the phone.

If I have to deliver something to my lawyer, how shall I go about it?

  • For clients who wish to drop off documents but do not wish to come in contact with any one at the firm, you are encouraged to drop them off in our mail slot in front of our office.

We will be open and available for any questions, comments or concerns. Please call (416) 364-3111 for any further information.

Stay safe and healthy,

Joseph Neuberger