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Top Five 2008

Each year at OJEN’s Toronto Summer Law Institute, a judge from the Court of Appeal for Ontario identifies five cases that are of significance in the educational setting. This summary, based on these comments and observations, is appropriate for discussion and debate in the classroom setting.

Summaries of important legal cases from 2008, as identified by the Honourable Mr. Justice Russell Juriansz of the Ontario Court of Appeal.

1. Canada (Justice) v Khadr, 2008 SCC 28, [2008 2SCR 125

In a 2007 decision, R. v Hape, the Supreme Court significantly restricted the application of the Charter outside Canada. Khadr is important because it recognized and applied an important exception to Hape. In it, the Supreme Court held that the Charter could be applied outside of Canada because the United States was in breach of international law. Khadr is the latest in a series of cases to address the application of the Charter to the actions of Canadian officials abroad. The full decision is available here.

2. R v AM, 2008 SCC 19, [2008] 1 SCR 569 & R v Kang Brown, 2008 SCC 18, [2008] 1 SCR  456

Section 8 of the Charter guarantees everyone freedom from unreasonable search or seizure. A police officer, acting without a warrant, must have reasonable and probable grounds for the search. Evidence obtained by an unreasonable search in violation of s. 8 may be excluded under s. 24(2) of the Charter. The Supreme Court excluded evidence of drugs found in a high school student’s backpack by a police sniffer dog. In a companion case the Supreme Court excluded drugs found in passenger’s bag at a bus depot. The full decisions are available here: R v.A.M and R v. Kang-Brown.

3. R v Singh, [2007] 3 SCR 405, 2007 SCC 48

In this case, the Supreme Court confirmed that the s. 7 right to silence does not oblige police to stop questioning a suspect who clearly asserts the right to silence. Police may use legitimate means of persuasion to try to obtain a statement from a detainee who has asserted a choice to remain silent. The full decision is available here.

4. Hill v Hamilton Wentworth Regional Police Services Board, [2007] 3 SCR 129, 2007 SCC 41, [2007] 3 SCR 129

In this case,the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the tort of negligent investigation exists in Canada. This confirmed that police owe a duty of care to suspects they are investigating and individuals who are wrongly accused or convicted may bring a civil action against the police if an investigation is conducted negligently.The full decision is available here.

5. AA v BB, 2007 ONCA 2

The Ontario Court of Appeal declared that both partners in a lesbian relationship were mothers of a child. This resulted in the child having three parents. The full decision is available here.

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