SCC No. Case Name Province of Origin Keywords
40499 Guillaume Poitras c. Sa Majesté le Roi QC Charter of Rights
40484 Olga Routkovskaia v. Michael Gibson BC Family law — Costs
40545 Karlheinz Schreiber v. Attorney General of Canada, et al. AB Civil procedure — Time — Abuse of process
40551 Alexander MacDonald v. His Majesty the King in Right of British Columbia BC Civil procedure — Standing — Aboriginal law
40587 Durham Regional Police Services Board, et al. v. Joseph Briggs, et al. ON Administrative law — Judicial review
Application for leave to appeal granted
His Majesty the King v. Agénor Archambault, Gilles Grenier
Criminal law — Preliminary inquiry — Legislation
In July 2019, in two separate cases, the respondents appeared in the Court of Québec to answer charges for indictable offences that were punishable by a maximum of 14 years of imprisonment, but that had been punishable by a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment at the time they were allegedly committed. The respondents were thus entitled to a preliminary inquiry. On September 19, 2019, s. 535 of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 (“Cr. C.”), was amended and the right to a preliminary inquiry was abolished for an accused charged with an indictable offence punishable by less than 14 years of imprisonment. The respondents both requested a preliminary inquiry after September 19, 2019. Both requests were denied by the Court of Québec on the basis that it lacked jurisdiction followed the amendment to s. 535 of the Cr. C. The Quebec Superior Court denied judicial review in each case, but the Quebec Court of Appeal determined that the amendment to s. 535 of the Cr. C. applies prospectively, allowed both appeals and referred each case back to the Court of Québec for a preliminary inquiry.
Applications for leave to appeal dismissed
Guillaume Poitras v. His Majesty the King (Que.)
Charter of Rights
As part of a cybersurveillance operation, a police officer posing as a minor made contact with the applicant, Guillaume Poitras. On November 28, 2012, she agreed to meet the applicant at a restaurant, where he was arrested and charged with child luring and with making child pornography. Following the arrest, the seizure of the applicant’s computer was authorized by search warrant. The analysis of the computer led to the addition of 37 counts, once again for child luring and making child pornography. The applicant elected to be tried by a judge and jury and requested a preliminary inquiry. The preliminary inquiry was eventually held on June 3, 2016. The applicant was ordered to stand trial on the 2 charges initially laid against him and on the 37 additional counts. He brought a motion for a stay of proceedings under s. 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the ground that his right to be tried within a reasonable time had been infringed. The Court of Québec stayed the proceedings on the 2 charges initially laid but dismissed the motion for the 37 new counts because the calculation of the delay for those counts had begun on the day the applicant was ordered to stand trial. The applicant appealed the Court of Québec’s judgment, but the Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. In its view, the Court of Québec had not erred in law in holding that the applicant had been charged with an offence within the meaning of s. 11(b) of the Charter at the time he was ordered to stand trial on the new counts.
Olga Routkovskaia v. Michael Gibson (B.C.)
Family law — Costs
The Supreme Court of British Columbia judge ordered that each party should bear their own costs in a family law matter. The cost of the court transcripts were ordered to be shared equally by the parties. Harris J.A. dismissed the applicant’s application for leave to appeal the costs order. He held that the applicant has not demonstrated the existence of an arguable error in principle in the exercise of the trial judge’s discretion, and it was not in the interests of justice to grant leave to appeal. The Court of Appeal dismissed the applicant’s application to vary the order of the chambers judge dismissing her application for leave to appeal the costs order made by a Supreme Court judge.
Karlheinz Schreiber v. Attorney General of Canada (Alta.)
Civil procedure — Time — Abuse of process
In 2019, the Alberta courts dismissed Mr. Schreiber’s 1997 action against the Attorney General of Canada for long delay pursuant to r. 4.33 of the Alberta Rules of Court, which requires the Court to dismiss an action when three years pass without a significant advance in the claim. The last significant step in the action was found to be in 2009, after which Mr. Schreiber was extradited to Germany, convicted of tax evasion, and imprisoned until 2016.
The chambers judge dismissed the appeal. The Court of Appeal also dismissed the appeal, holding Mr. Schreiber failed to demonstrate a reviewable error.
Alexander MacDonald v. His Majesty the King (B.C.)
Civil procedure — Standing — Aboriginal law
The Crown claimed Mr. MacDonald was in wrongful occupation of land on the Haida Gwaii islands and trespassing. The Crown commenced an action seeking orders granting it vacant possession. Mr. MacDonald filed a response that the property is not Crown land and it is land to which the Haida Nation has Aboriginal title. He filed a counterclaim seeking a declaration to that effect and challenging the constitutionality of the Land Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 245. The Supreme Court of British Columbia struck the response and counterclaim and granted an order for vacant possession. The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal.
Durham Regional Police Services Board, Christopher Delaney v. Joseph Briggs, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (Ont.)
Administrative law — Judicial review
Mr. Briggs brought two separate applications against the Durham Regional Police Services Board and individual police officers to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The Tribunal heard the first application. Meanwhile, during the proceedings related to the second application, a mediated settlement was reached. After the settlement was reached, the Tribunal released its decision in the first application.
In November 2017, the Tribunal ruled that the settlement covered both applications. In March 2019, it found that the decision issued in Mr. Briggs’ favour on the first application was an abuse of process. The decision in the first application was cancelled. The Divisional Court found that the Tribunal’s decisions were unreasonable. The settlement in the second application did not settle the first application, so that decision was not an abuse of process. The Court of Appeal dismissed the Police Services Board’s appeal.