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THE ACCUSED’S RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES

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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BILL C-75: MAKING AN UNFAIR PROCESS WORSE

by Alison Craig

On March 29, 2018, Bill C-75 was introduced for its first reading in the House of Commons. Proponents of the Bill argue that it will bring about a “cultural shift” in the justice system, speed up the process, and unclog the courts. The Bill makes significant changes to the jury selection process – changes which result in more unfair trials, less cultural diversity on juries, and a greater potential for wrongful convictions. Gone will be peremptory challenges, which allow counsel for the accused (and the Crown) to exclude a limited number of jurors without having to provide a reason.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TRIAL JUDGE’S REASONS FOR JUDGMENT IN CRIMINAL CASES

by Alexander Ostroff

In criminal trials heard by a judge alone, sitting without a jury, the reasons provided for his or her decision are particularly important. The Supreme Court has held that the trial judge has a duty to give reasons in non-jury criminal trials.
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