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Legal status of 3d printed guns in Canada

The legal wrangling in the U.S. around 3D printed firearms dates back to 2013, when non-profit organization, Defence Distributed, started publishing downloadable gun blueprints online. The company was quickly ordered by US State Department to remove the prints. A five-year long legal battle followed, where recently a federal Judge has temporary blocked the website from sharing blueprints of 3D guns. As the legal battle continues in the U.S, the RCMP and local police services continue to warn Canadians of the implications associated with printing 3D guns without a licence.
In Canada, there are three classes of firearms: non-restricted, restricted and prohibited. Different regulations apply to different classifications. To own a restricted gun or pistol, an individual first needs to obtain a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL). As all firearms are subject to the Firearm Act and associated regulations, it is illegal to manufacture or possess 3D printed firearm without the appropriate licence and applicable registration certificate.
Anyone who violates these weapons related laws could face up to 10 years in prison. Currently, there is no legislation prohibiting Canadians, licenced or not, from possessing online downloads of 3D printable files. The Federal Government has already proposed tightening Canada’s firearm law by introducing gun bill C-71.  The bill intends to enhance existing background checks along with changing how vendors document the sale of firearms. The bill does not specifically address the modern notion of these so called “ghost guns”.

DUI & Your Reputation

Is My Life Over After a DUI?

We all know someone who has gotten caught driving under the influence after a drink or a few too many. Though we might not think of these people as “criminals”, impaired driving in Ontario can result in a criminal conviction regardless of how someone is punished. Even if the end result is a mandatory fine, a criminal conviction can have consequences on a person’s life long after that fine is paid.

For example, a DUI conviction under section 253 of the Criminal Code can impede job prospects, or affect entry to the USA, by appearing in criminal record and vulnerable sector checks.

There is only one way to remove the conviction from a criminal record: a “record suspension” (formerly known as a “pardon”). Obtaining a record suspension is a lengthy process. If you have a DUI conviction, you must wait 5-10 years before you can even apply for one to the Parole Board of Canada. As part of the application, you must demonstrate that you have been “of good conduct” and that you have not been convicted of any further offences. The good news is that once it is granted, the conviction will no longer appear on your criminal record or in a vulnerable sector check, and you will no longer be required to disclose the conviction on Canadian employment forms.

An impaired driving conviction is a serious matter that can affect your life and reputation for many years. If you have been charged with impaired driving, obtain legal advice and ask your lawyer to explain all of your options.

Judge Shortage in Ontario

There is a crisis in the criminal justice system in Ontario. There are too many cases being prosecuted, and not enough judges to hear them. The result is that cases are taking too long to get to trial, accused people are suffering prejudice from the delay, and charges are being dismissed as a result.

The judicial shortage in Ontario is not a new problem. For decades both federal and provincial
governments have repeatedly promised to fix it, yet judicial vacancies have remained. Section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees an accused the right to have their trial within a reasonable time. Since the enactment of the Charter in 1982, what constitutes a “reasonable time” has been the subject of much debate. Finally, in 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada settled that debate in R. v. Jordan by outlining “presumptive ceilings” for how long cases should take to get to trial: 18 months in the Ontario Court of Justice, and 30 months in the Superior Court of Justice. Anything longer that will result in the charges being stayed following an application by the accused pursuant to section 11(b) of the Charter unless the Crown can justify the delay by proving that it was caused by either exceptional circumstances or by the conduct of the defence.

Despite the Supreme Court’s pronouncement in Jordan, the pace of judicial appointments has remained slow. Significant vacancies remain, and little is being done to correct the problem. Shortly after the release of Jordan in 2016, funds were earmarked by the federal government for the hiring of judges, and provincial advisory committees were created to assist with the process. Yet in January of 2018, the Canadian Bar Association wrote to the Minister of Justice expressing concern that despite the ruling in Jordan, promises for change were not being kept.

The problem continues to get worse rather than better. Following the dismissal of a case involving serious fraud charges in July of 2018 as a result of delay, Norine Nathanson, senior counsel to the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, said that she expects the percentage of judicial vacancies to reach an all-time high by September of 2018.

Fraud or Theft Charges? Call for a Free Consultation

Fraud charges vary greatly and can include asset misappropriation, insurance or medical billing fraud, and bank fraud. With the rise of online shopping, a common fraud offence is using a stolen or fake credit card to buy something online. In such cases, fraud is often laid together with theft charges.

Section 380(1) of the Criminal Code defines the offence of fraud as using deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence, to defraud the public or any person, whether ascertained or not, of any property, money or valuable security or any service.

To be found guilty, the Crown must prove that you had the intent to defraud. However, an honest belief that you were entitled to the property in question does not negate the subjective knowledge required to prove the offence.

If this is your first-time offence, it is important to understand the possible consequences. If you are facing a fraud under $5,000 charge, the Crown has the option of pursuing the matter as an indictable or summary offence. If the Crown proceeds by indictment, the maximum penalty is imprisonment of two years. If the Crown proceeds summarily, the penalty can be a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both. Alternatively, if you are facing a fraud over $5,000 charge, the offence is indictable and the maximum penalty is fourteen years imprisonment.

The punishment for theft under $5,000 varies as it is also a hybrid offence. The Crown has the option of proceeding summarily, which can result in a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both, or by indictment, which can result in imprisonment of up to two years.

While the consequences can be serious, many charges of theft and fraud under are eligible for diversion. Diversion allows for the charges to be withdrawn following the completion of programs that can involve community service and donations to charity. It is important to remember that pleading guilty to a fraud of theft charge will result in a criminal record and may profoundly impact your immigration status, ability to travel and relationship with your employer. If you have been arrested and charged with fraud, theft, or both, Lockyer Posner Craig’s expertise can assist you.

Arrest Warrants

An arrest warrant gives the police the legal power to arrest an individual. This doesn’t mean
that the police require a warrant to conduct an arrest. Section 495 of the criminal code grants
the police the power to arrest someone when:

  • they have reasonable grounds to believe the person has committed or is about to
    commit an indictable offence;
  • they are committing a criminal offence;
  • or when they have reasonable grounds to believe that there is a warrant for that
    person’s arrest.

Although it isn’t necessary for the police to serve an arrest warrant on a suspect, people will
often ask what an arrest warrant looks like. It must include:

  • either the name of the suspect or provide their description;
  • the offence they’re charged with;
  • and an order that the person be arrested and brought before the court.

An arrest warrant gives the power to any police officer who has knowledge of the warrant to
arrest the person named in the warrant. A common example of this is where a police officer
has detained someone in relation to another offence and, in the course of the investigation, she
or he discovers the existence of the warrant. If the officer is satisfied that the warrant applies
to the person under detention, they then have lawful authority to make an arrest.
Most warrants are only valid within the province where they have been obtained and many of
those warrants will have restrictions setting out a kilometer radius. It is also possible to obtain
an arrest warrant applies across Canada. Obtaining such a warrant is more onerous for the
police, who must apply for it in the Superior Court of Justice or the Court of Appeal.
If you become aware of a warrant for your arrest, contact our office to assist you. Please also
refer to my article, “What to do if the police are looking for you” published in NOW Magazine.

Example from Ontario, Canada, of what a arrest warrant looks like.

Drug Charges and Drug Trafficking Charges

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) sets out which drugs are illegal in Canada
(marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.). There are four main offences in the CDSA: possession,
possession for the purpose, trafficking, and importing.

A possession charge means you are found with drugs in an amount for personal use. If it is your
first time facing a possession charge (under 30 grams of marijuana), you may be eligible for a diversion program. This means your charges may be withdrawn.

Possession for the purpose of trafficking means that you are in possession of an unlawful
substance for the purpose of selling or giving the substance to another person. This usually
means you are in possession of a large amount of an illegal substance – not for personal use (i.e.
you intend to sell the drugs). Trafficking in illegal drugs means selling or giving them to other
individuals, including undercover police officers. Importation of drugs occurs when you enter
Canada with an illegal substance.

Many people ask the question, “How do I beat my drug charge?” when charged with a drug

To be found guilty, the Crown must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The Crown
must always prove the nature of the substance and possession of the substance. To prove
possession, the Crown must show that you had knowledge and control of the substance. When
charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, the Crown must also prove that the
possession was for the purpose of trafficking.

Even if the Crown proves all of the necessary elements of the offence, you can still win your
case by demonstrating that your rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms have been
violated by the police. For example, your right to be protected against unlawful search and
seizure may have been violated if the police searched a home or a car without a search warrant.

If you have been arrested and charged with any drug offences (marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.),
Lockyer Posner Craig can help you to avoid a criminal conviction.


by Eva Taché-Green

A quick glance at the changing skyline of Toronto says a lot about the increasing popularity of condominiums. Condo living means cutting back on square footage and swapping big backyards for sweeping views and access to amenities. But according to recent case law in Ontario, it also means giving up our right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by the police.
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by Alexander Ostroff

Last week, in California, a judge was removed from office after voters elected to recall him in the aftermath of a high profile sexual assault trial.1. In that trial, the accused was convicted and the judge imposed a sentence that fell within the lawful exercise of his discretion, but there was widespread public opinion that the sentence was overly lenient. Shortly after the trial, California law was changed to increase the mandatory minimum sentence for that charge. After members of the public filed complaints, an independent state agency in California with the power to discipline and remove judges from office conducted an investigation and released a report, in which they did not find that there had been judicial misconduct. However, in California, trial judges are elected, and can be removed from office as the result of a public recall vote. The impact of this highly-visible and unpopular decision affected the public enough for a successful electoral campaign to have the judge removed before the end of his term. This case raises interesting questions about judicial accountability and judicial independence and is an interesting contrast to the different balance that is struck between these important values in the Canadian legal system.

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by Alexandra Mamo

It seems impossible to open a newspaper without reading about sexual assault. With the popularity of the #MeToo campaign, the focus of the current cultural conversation is on the unfair treatment of victims in our criminal justice system. In an attempt to address these perceived injustices, the Canadian government has introduced amendments to the Criminal Code in Bill C-51 which seek to provide a broader role for complainants in sexual assault trials. However, these fundamental changes will severely compromise the rights of accused parties to a fair trial.
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