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Toronto Criminal Law Blog

BAD BOYS, BAD BOYS, What you going to do – Police Disciplinary Reports and Disclosure

For years, criminal defence lawyers across Canada have been told by their Crown Attorney counterparts that a third party record application was required in order to obtain police disciplinary records in defence of their clients. For years, criminal defence lawyers have argued, mostly unsuccessfully, that an officer's prior improper conduct was relevant to the police investigation and essential to making full answer and defence. On January 16, 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada finally released their decision in R. v. McNeil (originally argued on March 19, 2008.) This is the first significant decision out of the Supreme Court to deal…

The Rise and Fall of Evidence to the Contrary: A Brief History

Introduction Although charges of impaired/over 80 have decreased in the past two decades, these driving offences currently constitute 12% of all cases on the dockets of lower courts. With approximately 15,000 impaired/over 80 cases being heard every year in the low courts, these offences represent the largest category of offence currently being tried in this court. Parliament first introduced the offence of "driving while intoxicated" in 1921 but it was not until the late 1950's that law enforcement officials began to use breath testing devices as an evidentiary tool for the prosecution of impaired driving. Provision of breath samples were…

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