Welcome to Our Blog

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Appointment to the Ontario Parole Board

I am happy to announce that the Attorney General of Ontario has appointed me to the Ontario Parole Board. As described on the Parole Board’s website:

The Ontario Parole Board (OPB) promotes public safety by deciding on the return of offenders to the community through supervised conditional release. As an independent quasi-judicial administrative tribunal, the OPB has the sole authority in Ontario to:

  • grant parole
  • deny parole
  • cancel parole before release
  • revoke parole

Public safety is the guiding principle underlying all conditional release decision-making, and the OPB is also committed to the rights of victims and the fair and individualized risk assessment of each offender.

I am excited to start this new opportunity. I will serve on the Parole Board on a part-time basis and continue to practice as a criminal defence lawyer full-time.

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R. v. Antic, 2017 SCC 27: The stakes are too high for anything less

R. v. Antic, 2017 SCC 27: The stakes are too high for anything less

The Supreme Court of Canada recently released R. v. Antic, 2017 SCC 27. The decision is poised to be a game changer for the law of bail in Canada. I was counsel for the Criminal Lawyers’ Association in this case along with John Norris. We asked the Supreme Court to tell bail courts that the default position for an accused person is their unconditional release, and beyond that the accused person should be released on the least restrictive conditions unless it is necessary to deny them bail. The Supreme Court accepted this submission.

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Different judges, different results: R. v. Harley Davidson

In 2014 I represented a Barrie man named Harley Davidson (yes, that’s his real name) on charges relating to the production of marijuana. I said that the police had no right to enter Mr. Davidson’s home, which is where the marijuana was found. The trial judge said that I was wrong. The Court of Appeal for Ontario said that I was right (R. v. Davidson, 2017 ONCA 257). In this blog post, I discuss the Court of Appeal’s recent analysis.

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Looking into the Future? The No Contest Plea

The latin “nolo contendere” translates to “I am unwilling to contest”. An accused who enters a plea of nolo contendere (also referred to as a “no contest plea” or “nolo plea”) declares to the court that he or she does not contest the charges against him or her.

Are you a law nerd who likes reading? Because in this blog post I discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the no contest plea by looking at the American plea bargaining system. At the end of the post, I explain briefly why a no contest plea cannot exist under the current state of Canadian law.

Since the blog post is lengthy, it is attached for download here.

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What is a youth record?

What is a youth record? Does it go away when you turn 18? How do you make it “go away”? In this blog post I tackle the many frequently asked questions about youth records.

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Driving During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is here. There are a couple of things you can count on: Christmas trees, people complaining about the term “happy holidays”, and, even more regrettably, drinking and driving. The police will be out in full force during late December to catch impaired drivers.

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Bail: The Difference Between Theory and Reality

Bail in Canada is supposed to be a liberal and enlightened regime. However, the operation of the bail system has diverged significantly from the way the law is written in the Criminal Code. This post will discuss some themes in those differences.

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The Effect of a Peace Bond

Most of the time, a peace bond is a gift to someone accused of a criminal offence. Other times it is a curse. Let’s explore what a peace bond is and what it means for an accused person who is presented with the option of resolving their criminal matter by accepting a peace bond.

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Travel Implications of a Criminal Charge

What are the implications on your ability to travel with a criminal charge? What are the implications if you are found guilty of the offence?

What follows is legal information, not legal advice, and is not to be relied upon. If you have a question about the travel implications of a criminal charge or finding of guilt, retain a lawyer to receive legal advice.

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Ontario Court of Justice vs Superior Court of Justice

A key decision for an accused person and their criminal lawyer is whether to elect for a trial in the Ontario Court of Justice or Superior Court of Justice. In theory the decision should not carry a substantive difference. In practice, however, the decision can affect the merit of the case and carry a personal effect on the accused person.

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What to expect at your first court appearance

You’ve been arrested by the police. Handcuffs on. A night at the police station. Maybe even a bail hearing. You now face the daunting prospect of standing before a judge at your first court appearance. I have good news for you. Much of the anxiety surrounding a first court of appearance is unfounded. The first court appearance is a dull, low-risk experience in which little of substance occurs.

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Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! At the outset I want to be as clear as possible: everything on this blog and sewrattan.com are my thoughts and legal information only. This blog is not legal advice. Reading this blog does not make me your lawyer and you should not make legal decisions based on the information in this blog. Instead, contact a lawyer who can discuss the issues with you.

For my first blog post I want to jump into a bit of an advanced discussion about the most complicated exception to the hearsay rule, the co-conspirators exception. This post is fairly technical. Lawyers will appreciate it the most, followed in close second by nerds.

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