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Sex trade decision from the Supreme Court of Canada ushers in new age

The recent decision of the S.C.C. in Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford the unanimous court held that the prohibition in the Criminal Code against keeping a common bawdy house, soliciting for the purpose of prostitution and living off the avails of prostitution were overly broad, and offended the Charter of Rights. Lawyer Aaron Harnett describes the possible responses from legislators, both Federal and Municipal, and ground shift this will cause in Canadian society. Read the full story here.

Beiber may have immigration troubles on the horizon

Justin Beiber’s Toronto criminal charges could have serious consequences for him, even if he is never sent to jail. As counsel Aaron Harnett told Advocate Daily, just being found guilty of an assault can mean a Canadian citizen will be refused entry to the United States.  The Americans regarding many criminal offences as falling into a category known as crimes of moral turpitude. If someone if found guilty of such a crime, or even just admits to a border control officer that they have committed such a crime, they will be refused entry and made to apply for a waiver to enter the country. This is a time-consuming process, which can take over a year. Read the full story.

Televised trials skew public’s perception of criminal justice

When an audience watches televised trial coverage for entertainment, its view of the proceedings will likely be skewed, Toronto criminal lawyer Aaron Harnett says in the Toronto Star.

“They’re being asked to play at home without being given the proper rules,” Harnett says in the article. “That creates an enormous problem for not only the perception of the administration of justice, but also our expectations of a justice system.”

Counsel Aaron Harnett,  who has acted on a number of high-profile cases, explains why having tv cameras in the courtroom degrades the public’s perception of the administration of justice. Read full story here.

Can a sentencing judge take immigration consequences into account? S.C.C. says Yes

As sentences and immigration restrictions grow harsher and harsher every year, one questions becomes more and more important: can a judge take the immigration consequences into account when he renders a sentence for a crime? Courts and counsel have been uncertain about this issue, but with the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Pham the issue has been settled. The answer is: yes, as long as at the end of the process the sentence imposed is still a fit and proper one. The result is if an offender is eligible for a range of sentences, she could receive a lower-end sentence if that will help her on the immigration side of the equation. Read the full story here.

Defence of Duress makes more sense now after S.C.C. ruling

The Supreme Court of Canada recently reviewed the  law  of duress as it applies as a defence, or excuse, in criminal cases. In R. v. Ryan, the highest court gave this rarely used defence a thorough analysis, and for the first time in modern legal history set out what  makes the defence fly. Defence lawyer Aaron Harnett  reviews the Court’s approach and explains this complicated area of the law.  Read the full story here.

Very little likelihood that B.C. Charter challenges to new medical marijuana laws will succeed

Criminal defence lawyer Aaron Harnett says that the recent challenge which has been mounted to the new medical marijuana scheme will likely fail. Parliament has the right to regulate medicines, and as access to the substance has been liberalized by the new legislation, removing people’s right to grow it will not offend s. 7 of the Charter of Rights. read the full story here.

Looser pot laws may be on the horizon

Federal Minister of Justice Mackay is considering introducing a “ticketing” system to allow police officers to enforce marijuana laws without a full criminal trial. In light of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s well-received promise to decriminalize the simple possession of marijauna, it seems like the Harper Government may finally be getting the message that they are out of step with Canadians on this issue, says Harnett. Read the full story here.

Proposed immigration law changes “Draconian,” says Harnett

Recently proposed changes to Canada’s immigration laws allowing for automatic deportation of permanent residents, refugees and visitors sentenced to more than six months in prison, should be alarming to all Canadians, says Toronto criminal lawyer Aaron Harnett. Read the full story here.

Case highlights importance of thorough police probes

The case of an elderly home invasion victim who ended up spending 75 days in jail after making a 911 call, highlights the difficulty police face when they arrive on a scene and make snap decisions to resolve disputes and “clear occurrences,” says Toronto criminal lawyer Aaron Harnett. Read the full story here.

Mayor Ford: driving while reading is a chargeable offence

Counsel Harnett on the offence of careless driving,  and how reading while driving may be a serious HTA offence. Read the full story here.

LAO block fee rates too low, says Harnett

Toronto criminal lawyer Aaron Harnett tells Law Times that legal aid block fee rates are too low. Read Story in Law Times
“It’s a terrible place for a criminal lawyer to make a living,” says Toronto lawyer Aaron Harnett of the legal aid system. “Many years ago, I made a conscious effort to build my practice in the direction of a cash practice rather than a legal aid practice.”

Possible strike latest trouble for court interpreters

Speaking on the escalating controversy surrounding Ontario’s court interpreters, Toronto criminal lawyer Aaron Harnett tells the National Post, “A good interpreter is arguably more important than your lawyer.” Read the full story here.

Aaron Harnett: Client’s G20 sentence “careful and sophisticated”

Toronto criminal lawyer Aaron Harnett says the “extremely careful and sophisticated” conditional sentence handed to his client for his part in smashing windows during the G20 summit, may not be available for judges to mete out after the omnibus crime bill passes and brings “American style” justice to Canada. Read the full story here.

Sometimes no law is the best law: Aaron Harnett

Eleven years after Canada’s pot prohibitions were struck down, medical marijuana regulations have been spinning in a “vicious circle,” says Toronto criminal lawyer Aaron Harnett. Read the full story here.

Travellers’ cash confiscated

International travelers are getting tripped up by the CBSA’s cross-border currency reporting rules. Read the full story here.

Lawyer Harnett angered over client’s death in prison

“The lawyer for a recently convicted child killer who was found dead in his cell last week is raising questions over the level of supervision of his client at an Ontario prison….Just 48 hours before he was found dead, Manion received a life sentence for second-degree murder with no possibility of parole for 10 years in Katherine May Wilson’s 1970 disappearance in Kirkland Lake…Aaron Harnett, who represented Manion in court, told CBC News on Monday he was concerned Manion may have been ignored by jail staff after he started serving his life sentence….He said his client should have been placed under increased surveillance.” Read the full story here.

Brotherly Love: Three brothers fight to save sister

“This one had a ring of truth beyond anything I’ve encountered in ten years… You know absolutely that you’re defending people who have been wrongly charged, and abused by the system, abused by a couple of different systems.” Read the full story here.

Murder charge laid in cold case from 1970: Kirkland Lake search never turned up body of 12-year-old

Manion’s lawyer, Aaron Harnett, said it was too early to comment about the case, but said the arrest has been hard on the Manion family…”The family feels like a bomb has been blown up underneath them and they love their father and they’re very supportive,” he said.” Read the full story here.

Trail of blood tells story of night officer was killed

“…the case has centred on the two perpetrators — and perpetrators they are, having acknowledged from the get-go they are responsible for the killing, though their lawyers argue it was manslaughter. Much of the evidence called by prosecutor John McMahon has cut both ways, simultaneously serving his contention that this was a cold-blooded case of second-degree murder and the defence lawyers’ view that it was not, that it was a crime born of despair, intoxication and a profound absence of intention.” Read the full story here.

A brief respite from the bleakness: Testimony at trial of police killers was a gift of normalcy

“Ms. Cece’s diary, found near the crime scene in the women’s abandoned bags and introduced into evidence yesterday, may hold a clue…Her lawyers seemed not unhappy at the diary becoming evidence; after all, Ms. Cece’s scribblings arguably show her, in the days just before the killing, as they maintain she was — drug-addled, depressed beyond bearing, longing for a real home in the country and pets and peace, talking of suicide (she referred to overdosing on “heroine”) and reasonably articulate.” Read the full story here.

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