Quebec court applies Jordan ceilings to white collar crime

A Quebec man accused of tax evasion by provincial tax authorities won an “important” legal battle after the Court of Quebec applied the landmark Jordan ruling and ordered a stay of proceedings and charges.

The decision affirms that the principles set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Jordan, 2016 SCC 27, [2016] 1 applies to white collar crimes, clarifies the notion of “complexity of the case,” underlines that the prosecution must analyze the evidence and develop a “concrete management and trial plan” before laying charges, and it may even prompt Revenu Quebec to review its procedures, according to tax lawyers. The ruling also suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic is not in itself sufficient grounds to justify delay, without examining other factors.

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Troll sentenced to prison for inciting hate online following Quebec City mosque massacre

A troubled young Quebec City man who incited hate against Arabs by writing unapologetically “cruel and racist” rantings on social media hours after six people were shot dead and five wounded at a mosque in Quebec City in 2017 was sentenced to 60 days in prison.

The 20-year old arborist, who pled guilty, blamed his drug-induced intoxicated state for his online racist comments. He testified that he consumed cocaine, ketamine and MDMA at a rave. He also admitted during trial that he was “a bit racist” but was willing to make a public apology and make a donation in exchange for an absolute discharge.

Court of Quebec Judge Mario Tremblay would have none of it. The comments were heinous, issued at a time when victims, the Arab community and society were coping with grief, and were made repeatedly, held Judge Tremblay.

“Considering the context in which the comments were made and its contents, the sentence must be sufficiently severe to have a denunciation effect,” said Judge Tremblay in R. c. Huot 2018 QCCQ 4650. “The accused has no excuse. He made these comments repeatedly” during three days.

But Judge Tremblay made it plain that the accused was not sentenced because he still holds racist thoughts. Rather his deeply held personal views “wipe out the possibility” that his excuses are sincere and he failed to demonstrate a genuine awareness and recognition of the harm done to Arab community and society at large, added Judge Tremblay.

Echoing remarks made more than a decade ago in R. c. Presseault, 2007 QCCQ 384 by then Court of Quebec Judge Martin Vauclair, now a Quebec Court of Appeal Justice, Judge Tremblay lamented that he could not impose a stiffer sentence because of “choices made by the legislator.” The maximum sentence for inciting hate is two years imprisonment.

“The consequences associated with such remarks are latent, pernicious and could have an explosive impact on a fragile person susceptible of committing an illegal act,” concluded Judge Tremblay.

The arborist, the third person to be charged for inciting hate crimes following the Quebec City mosque shooting, will serve his sentence intermittently, on weekends.

Quebec appeal court rebukes trial judge over stereotypical attitudes towards sexual assault

The Quebec Court of Appeal admonished a trial judge who acquitted a father accused of incest for holding biases and stereotypes over the way a sexual assault victim should behave.

The appellate court, in a brief but unusually blunt and forceful six-page ruling, ordered a new trial against a father who allegedly assaulted his daughter for a 16-year period, from the age of nine until 25. She came forward in 2010 when she was an adult and while living with her parents.

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Three Court of Quebec judges appointed

Quebec Minister of Justice Stéphanie Vallée announced the appointment of three more Court of Quebec judges, with Stéphane Davignon and Luc Huppé appointed to the civil division in Montreal and Dany Pilon to the youth division in Saint-Jérôme.

Davignon, a graduate from the Université de Montréal, was admitted to the Barreau du Québec in 1994 and became a partner with Clément Davignon in 1998.

Huppé, admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1984 after graduating from Université Laval, was a partner with de Grandpré Joli-Cœur since 2008. He has been an assessor with the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal since 2009. He has also written extensively; his latest tome is entitled “La déontologie de la magistrature Droit canadien – Perspective internationale.”

Pilon began her career working with the City of Montreal after being admitted to the Bar in 1990. A graduate of the l’Université de Montréal, she has been working with the Centre communautaire juridique Laurentides-Lanaudière since 1999.

Court of Quebec judge absolved by inquiry committee

A Court of Quebec judge under fire for allegedly lending more than $9 million in loans over the past few years has been absolved of any ethical breaches by a five-member panel of the Committee of Inquiry of the Conseil de la magistrature du Québec.

The inquiry committee concluded that Judge Manlio Del Negro, nominated as a Court of Quebec judge on March 2017, did not infringe article 129 of the Quebec Courts of Justice Act nor did he breach the Quebec Judicial Code of Ethics. Under article 129 of the Act, the office of judge is exclusive. In other words, a lawyer appointed judge is legally required to refrain from any activity which is not compatible with his functions, including carrying out – even indirectly — commercial activities.

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Employer found guilty of manslaughter following fatal work accident

A general contractor has been found guilty of manslaughter after one of his employees was killed by being buried in a trench, marking the first time in Quebec that a breach of provincial occupational health and safety legislation served as the basis for a manslaughter conviction under the Criminal Code.

In a ruling lauded by health and safety lawyers and one of the province’s largest unions, Court of Quebec Judge Pierre Dupras found Sylvain Fournier, an excavation contractor, guilty of criminal negligence causing death under section 220(b) of the Criminal Code and manslaughter or involuntary culpable homicide under section 222(5)(a) of the Criminal Code, which provides that a person commits culpable homicide when he causes the death of a human being, “by means of an unlawful act.”

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