Quebec Court of Appeal provides Rowbotham guidance

Criminal lawyers in Quebec can now breathe a little easier after a Quebec Court of Appeal ruling that held that a certificate of eligibility from legal aid constitutes a presumption of fact when tackling the issue of financial means in cases dealing with a Rowbotham motion.

However in a ruling that adds nuances to findings from a widely-cited judgment rendered by the appeal court five years ago in Québec (Attorney-General) v. R.C. (2003), 13 C.R. (6th) the Court also held that a certificate of eligibility from legal aid is not conclusive evidence, thereby leaving the door open in cases dealing with a Rowbotham application for the courts to examine evidence on whether the applicant lacks sufficient means to obtain legal assistance.

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Youth protection authorites admonished by appeal court

Admonished by the Quebec Court of Appeal for single-mindedly trying to place a child before giving an opportunity to the parents to fulfill their parental responsibilities, youth protection authorities now face a more stringent test before envisioning adoption as a “solution to a difficult situation.”

In overturning a lower court ruling that authorized youth protection authorities to proceed with the placement of a child for adoption, the appeal court also provided guidance to courts of first instances, reminding them that they have a responsibility to question decisions made by youth protection, as is foreseen by the Youth Protection Act (Act).

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Vincent Lacroix criminal trial about to begin

More than 1,500 people will be parading through the corridors of the Palais de Justice in Montreal over the next three days, summoned as potential candidates in the long-awaited criminal proceedings against Vincent Lacroix, the founder of defunct mutual fund company Norbourg Asset Management Inc., who was sentenced to 12 years in a 2007 civil trial after being found guilty of 51 Quebec Securities Act violations for having defrauded 9,200 investors of $115-million between 2000 and 2005.

The 42-year old Quebecer, whose sentence was subsequently reduced to eight-and-a-half years and then to five years less a day last month by the Quebec Court of Appeal, faces nearly 200 criminal charges of fraud, conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to commit forgery, fabricating documents and money laundering laid by the RCMP following their investigation into Norbourg. Continue reading “Vincent Lacroix criminal trial about to begin”

Canada’s longest trial again in the news — Chapter III

“The petitioners are the defendants in the longest running judicial saga in Quebec legal history. A trial that had occupied no less than eight years was aborted because of the trial judge’s illness and his inability to resume its conduct. At that stage, the plaintiffs’ evidence was complete and the petitioners had completed roughly one-half of their evidence.”

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Mother wins battle to move to France with children

A lower court ruling that prohibited a French mother of two from moving from Quebec to her native country under penalty of losing custody was recently overturned by the Quebec Court of Appeal.

In a unanimous ruling, the appeal court issued a warning to courts of first instance that they must be cautious when weighing the “undeniable contribution” of expert’s opinions and bear in mind that “questions over custody and the criteria of who should have right to custody are issues that also call for legal notions,” said Quebec Court of Appeal Judge France Thibeault.

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Appeal court orders new trial after language rights not respected

For the third time since 2005 the Quebec Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal and ordered a new trial because of the failure to respect the language rights of an accused in a ruling that admonishes trial judges and Crown counsel for failing to protect them.

In setting aside the guilty verdict of second degree murder delivered on June 2006 by a Quebec Superior Court jury, the appeal court found that the rights of Bertam Dow under under governing appellate case law interpreting s. 530.1 of the Criminal Code, and s.14 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were not respected, and hence the curative provisions of sub-section 686(1)(b) Cr. C. cannot be applied.

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Appeal court takes tougher line on spousal support

When the Quebec Court of Appeal recently overturned an order that compelled a financial analyst to pay his ex-wife spousal support for an indefinite period, it caught family law experts by surprise.

Even though s. 15.2(3) of the Divorce Act, which came into force in 1985, allows judges to make an order requiring a spouse to secure and pay his ex-spouse sums for a definite period or until a specified event occurs, the appeal court has traditionally shunned from applying such orders and almost always have overturned lower court rulings that issued that time-limited support orders, particularly if children are in the picture and the spouse – usually women – have been out of the workplace for a long time.

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Cardiologist who had sex with patient ordered to pay $100,000

A cardiologist who had sexual relations with a patient was ordered by the Quebec Court of Appeal to pay $100,000 in damages to a former patient after it was determined that he had unlawfully interfered with her right to dignity and physical well-being, as per the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

In a majority decision, the Court of Appeal held that the Dr. Jean Hamel took advantage of his ex-patient’s vulnerability and the power he exercised over her to carry out actions that demonstrated “total insensitivity” towards her condition.

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Elderly sexual offender sentenced to jail

An 82-year old man who sexually abused his two daughters received a 23-month sentence after a Quebec Court judge held that advanced age should not the only determining factor in sentencing a criminal.

Alphonse Tremblay was found guilty of indecent assault committed in 1961 when he touched the breast of his 12-year old daughter, and a few years later of doing the same – and more – with another daughter over a four-year period in the mid-sixties.

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