By Andrew Seymour, Vancouver Sun
OTTAWA — Video of a wrongfully arrested Ottawa woman being kneed, pinned to the floor and her shirt and bra cut off with scissors has been released to the Ottawa Citizen.
The video of Stacy Bonds' treatment in the Ottawa police cells was central to Ontario Court Justice Richard Lajoie's decision on Oct. 27 to stay charges against her of assaulting police. The judge called her arrest and strip-search a "travesty."
In the video, which was recorded just before 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 26, 2008 and has no audio, Bonds can be seen being led through the police holding-cell area. The 27-year-old theatrical makeup artist with no criminal record does not appear to be resisting or aggressive.
By Jeremy Hainsworth, Lawyers Weekly
Canadian and international lawyers agree access to justice is on the brink of becoming a victim of the global recession as governments slash budgets—including those for legal aid programs.
However, Canada’s justice minister and attorneys general dodged the issue of the future of legal aid at a meeting on Oct. 15 in Vancouver, saying only that a joint statement on criminal legal aid had been signed. The statement was not released after the meeting.
“It was recognized that all jurisdictions are currently facing fiscal problems,” a release said.
By Michael McKiernan, Law Times
The former managing partner of Pinkofskys in Toronto has reinvented the firm with a new name and approach that emphasize the importance of privately retained clients.
According to Reid Rusonik, problems with legal aid have made the criminal defence firm’s old model of business “unsustainable.”
Rusonik has retained the bulk of his colleagues at Pinkofskys, including Jack Pinkofsky in the role of senior counsel, in forming the new firm: Rusonik O’Connor Ross Gorham & Angelini LLP.
With 22 trial lawyers and two practising appellate counsel, Rusonik claims his new firm inherits Pinkofskys’ title as Canada’s largest specialized criminal defence firm.
By Janice Tibbetts, Postmedia News
OTTAWA — About half of Canada's 57 federal penitentiaries will be renovated and expanded in the next four years to cope with an influx of new prisoners expected as a result of the Harper government's sentencing laws, says the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada.
Don Head told Postmedia News that although the list is not finalized, in the "ballpark" of 29 prisons will be revamped nationwide.
The Harper government is expected to spend an additional $2.1 billion by 2014 to accommodate almost 4,500 new inmates expected in federal prisons.
By: Terri Theodore, Globe and Mail
Canada’s legal system should be one of the pillars of the country’s social safety net, but instead it is withering from a lack of resources, say legal aid advocates.
As the country’s justice ministers meet in Vancouver this week, lawyer Melina Buckley hopes to hear promises of more funding for legal aid and solutions to the lack of legal help for those most in need across the country.
The issue is on the agenda for ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial governments. But that agenda is also packed with other important topics such as Canada’s missing women, national standards for conducted energy weapons and an RCMP contract coming due in 2012.
By. Susan Delacourt, Toronto Star
Under siege for its anti-abortion stand in foreign policy and silencing of feminist voices at home, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is arguing that what women really want is less crime in Canada.
“Our government has done more than any other government in the history of this country to keep women safe,” says Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose, who is also in charge of the status of women in the Harper government.
“We have introduced new laws to make sure that we keep rapists and murderers off the street and to make sure that we protect children from sexual predators. That is what women want.”
By: By Shannon Proudfoot, Canwest News Service Published: Vancouver Sun
One in nine Canadians has been homeless or on the brink of homelessness, and in some provinces that figure is as high as one in five, as the effects of the recession linger.
Across the country, nearly three million people have landed on the street or come close to it — 12 per cent of all Canadians — according to a report expected to be released Monday by the Salvation Army.
"It certainly is sobering, it certainly is eye-opening," says Andrew Burditt, public relations director for the Salvation Army in Canada.
"What scares me a little are how many people are out there that are potentially one paycheque away from being on the street." Read more »
OTTAWA – Soaring statistics for poverty, employment insurance, and welfare confirm the recession is far from over and the government must act now or the bad times for many Canadians will only get worse, New Democrat Poverty Critic Tony Martin (Sault Ste. Marie) said today.
“History tells us that getting out of a recession takes many years; these statisitcs are a recipe for disaster if the government fails to act,” Martin said. “Economists predict the next wave iof people to be affected by the recession are those who have lost their jobs, have fallen off or never qualified for EI, and are now on welfare and may be defaulting on loans.”
Posted By CECILIA NASMITH Northumberland Today.com
GRAFTON -- Justice need not be a cookie cutter, and revenge need not be our only response, St. Leonard's Society executive director Elizabeth White declared recently at St. Andrew's United Church in Grafton.
Appearing as the first speaker in a series of talks on how today's issues affect the Christian community, White noted that the first prisons were built by Quakers to replace physical punishment with an opportunity for repentance and reflection.
Today's prisons are a statement of disapproval for the offence and a return to punishment.
Shannon Kari, National Post
The tenets of a Toronto organization seeking a religious exemption to marijuana prohibitions was described by a federal government prosecutor on Thursday as a "fictitious artifice" and a ruse by cannabis enthusiasts.
"This is an inside joke among people who like to smoke marijuana," suggested Crown attorney Nicholas Devlin during cross-examination of a senior member of the Church of the Universe.
"I have heard that," said Brother Peter Styrsky, who maintained that this was an unfair characterization of the Toronto chapter of the church, known as the G13 Mission.