36865  Jeremy James Peers v. Her Majesty the Queen (Alberta Securities Commission)

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Attorney General of Alberta

(Alta.)

Charter of Rights – Right to trial by jury

Jeremy Peers was charged with thirty-three offences under s. 194 of the Securities Act, including unregistered trading in securities, non-compliance with prospectus disclosure obligations, misrepresentation, and fraudulent use of investor funds. Robert Peers faced one count of investor fraud. Section 194 provides that a person who is found guilty of an offence can be held liable to a fine of not more than $5 000 000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 5 years less a day, or to both. Summary proceedings were commenced by way of Information brought in the Provincial Court of Alberta and Jeremy Peers sought a determination that s. 11(f) of the Charter was engaged. He asked the court to quash the Information or stay the proceedings. A provincial court judge held that the applicant was entitled to trial by a jury and transferred the proceeding to the Court of Queen’s Bench. That Court allowed the appeal and transferred the matter back to the Provincial Court.

36866  Ronald James Aitkens v. Alberta Securities Commission

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Attorney General of Alberta

(Alta.)

Charter of Rights – Right to trial by jury

The applicant faced several charges under the Securities Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. S-4 (the “Act”) which were brought by the Crown on a summary basis before the Provincial Court of Alberta. The applicant brought an application contending that under s. 194 of the Act he could face a more severe punishment than five years of imprisonment, and was therefore entitled to a jury trial pursuant to s. 11(f) of the Charter. He further argued that the Provincial Court of Alberta does not have the jurisdiction to conduct a jury trial and that the matter should be transferred to the Court of Queen’s Bench to determine whether it has inherent jurisdiction to conduct a jury trial over a provincial offence. A judge of the Provincial Court rejected the argument that the applicant was entitled to a jury trial. That decision was confirmed on appeal to the Court of Queen’s Bench and again on appeal to the Court of Appeal of Alberta.