Thomas Kai Sin Chow v. Her Majesty the Queen  (Alta.)

Criminal law – Summary conviction

The applicant was charged with assault following an altercation in a soup kitchen. After being asked to leave he threw half a cup of coffee on a staff member. Another employee intervened and he was punched and spit upon by Mr. Chow. Mr. Chow was charged with assault. The evidence against him included testimony from the staff members and a videotape of the events. He was convicted of assault. He appealed, and his summary conviction appeal was dismissed.  His application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.


Lloyd Patrick Dettering v. Her Majesty the Queen  (Ont.)

Provincial Offences – Dog Owners' Liability Act

Mr. Dettering was charged with four alleged violations of the St. Catherines Canine Control Bylaw and a hearing before a justice of the peace related to an application under the Dog Owners' Liability Act. At trial, Mr. Dettering was found guilty of all charges but one and an order was made under the Dog Owners' Liability Act that he not own any dog for a year. His sentence on the bylaw charges was a suspended sentence. His appeal of the convictions to the Ontario Court of Justice was dismissed. The probation order was however varied and the prohibition on dog ownership for a year was deleted. Mr. Dettering's motion for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal for Ontario was dismissed.


Caring Citizens of Vancouver Society v. City of Vancouver  (B.C.)

Municipal law — By-laws — Zoning

Vancouver City Council amended its by-law to authorize the Director of Planning to relax the provisions of the zoning by-law where the proposed development makes provision for low cost housing for persons receiving assistance. The proposed amendment had been referred to public hearing and a notice of the meeting was published in a local newspaper.

The Director of Planning exercised his discretion pursuant to the new by-law to permit the use of temporary modular housing and issued a development permit for the property in question to authorize the construction and operation of the housing. The City had notified residents in the area of the proposed construction of the temporary modular housing and held four public information sessions.

The applicant, the Caring Citizens of Vancouver Society, filed a petition to have the by-law declared invalid and to have the development permit quashed. The respondent City argued the approval process involved a lawful exercise of delegated authority and forms an integral part of its plan to find effective solutions for the homelessness problem. 

The chambers judge dismissed the petition finding the by-law itself to be valid and finding that adequate notice of the effect and purpose of the by-law had been given in this case. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. 


Tracey Kanak v. Darryl Riggin  (Ont.)

Torts – Libel and slander – Defence – Qualified privilege

Ms. Kanak was hired at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited ("AECL") in 2006 by Mr. Riggins as a senior cost control analyst, a position she held until 2011 when AECL's corporate assets were sold and she, along with other employees, was laid off. In February, 2013, Ms. Kanak received a conditional offer of employment from Bruce Power as a financial analyst, which she accepted. A condition of the offer was positive reference checks. Mr. Riggin was contacted by telephone for a reference check. Bruce Power subsequently revoked its offer to Ms. Kanak on the basis of the negative employment reference it received from Mr. Riggin. Ms. Kanak brought an action in defamation against Mr. Riggin with respect to statements he made during the job reference. The trial judge dismissed the applicant's action in its entirety. Her decision was upheld on appeal.


Nicholas Gordon Rasberry v. Her Majesty the Queen  (Alta.)

The applicant, Mr. Rasberry, and the victim, Mr. Kelloway, were neighbours when they met for the first time in May 2013. The two men as well as Mr. Rasberry's wife and Mr. Kelloway's girlfriend gathered at the Kelloway home for a barbecue. That evening, Mr. Kelloway died of multiple stab wounds. Mr. Rasberry admitted to having inflicted them after Mr. Kelloway threatened to rape him and his wife. At the trial on a charge of second-degree murder, the judge rejected the defence of self-defence but found provocation. He convicted Mr. Rasberry of manslaughter and imposed a sentence of seven years imprisonment. Both the Crown and Mr. Rasberry appealed against conviction. The Crown took issue with the finding of provocation while Mr. Rasberry took issue with the rejection of self-defence. The Court of Appeal dismissed both appeals against conviction. Later, Mr. Rasberry appealed against his sentence. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed that appeal as well.


Williams-Litigation Lawyers v. James Wallbridge, Almeda Wallbridge and Wallbridge, Wallbridge  (Ont.)

Judgments and orders – Summary judgment – Torts

The respondent law firm ("Wallbridge") brought an action in defamation against Ms. Brunning, a lawyer practicing "in association" with Williams Litigation Lawyers ("Williams"), a partnership of lawyers in Ottawa, Ontario. Wallbridge alleged in its statement of claim that Ms. Brunning made a series of defamatory comments about or directed at Wallbridge related to their representation of former Indian Residential School students. Wallbridge also named Williams as a defendant, claiming that the law firm was vicariously liable for those allegedly defamatory statements.

Ms. Brunning's practice is separate from that of Williams, but she shares the same office address, telephone number, fax number and front desk receptionist. She pays Williams a monthly rental fee for the space and facilities. Williams authorized Ms. Brunning to use its letterhead that references her as "Practicing in Association, not in Partnership". She is listed with other lawyers in the header of the letterhead with an asterisk beside her name, the only lawyer so designated. Williams' website includes a photo of Ms. Brunning, along with photos of the Williams lawyers under the titles "Our Lawyers" and "Meet Our Team". Williams brought a motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of the action as against it. The motions judge granted the motion and dismissed the action against Williams. Her decision was overturned on appeal.


Guarantee Company of North America v. Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation and Attorney General of Canada representing the Minister of National Revenue  (Man.)

Civil procedure — Payment into court

This case results from a construction project involving repairs and improvements to a residential housing project. The owner, the respondent Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation (MHRC) seeks to pay into court funds held back on the project and seeks an order that after such payment, any and all liability with respect to the funds will be extinguished.

Prior to MHRC filing its order, the CRA delivered to MHRC a Requirement to Pay, requiring it to pay all amounts owed by MHRC to the general contractor on the project. The bonding company for the project, the applicant, The Guarantee Company of North America argued that MHRC had a legal obligation to pay the funds to them thus the order being sought by MHRC was inappropriate.

The main question here is to whom MHRC has a legal obligation to pay the funds? If the funds are payable to the general contractor then MHRC is required to pay them to CRA pursuant to the Requirement to Pay. However, the bond company argues MHRC has a legal obligation to pay the funds to them; as such, the funds are not payable to the general contractor and hence not to CRA.

The application judge found that CRA was entitled to the funds. The Court of Appeal agreed with the findings of the application judge and dismissed the appeal.


Mirza Nammo v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada  (F.C.)

Charter of rights and freedoms — Right to equality

The Federal Court allowed the respondent Crown's motion for an order to strike out the Statement of Claim. It found it was plain and obvious that the Statement of Claim disclosed no reasonable cause of action. The Federal Court of Appeal agreed following its decision in Lee v. Canada (Correctional Services), 2017 FCA 228, and dismissed the appeal. 


Srichand Reddy Kunuthur v. Deepti Govindareddigari  (Ont.)

Charter of Rights  – Right to liberty – Family law – Custody – Hague Convention

The father and mother were married in India in 2004. Shortly thereafter, they moved to the United States where the father had employment. Their son was born there in 2005 and is an American citizen. The family moved to Brampton, Ontario in 2011 and became permanent residents. In April 2013, while the father was away on business, the mother took the child with her to India. She advised the father by telephone that the purpose of their trip was to visit her mother who was ill. When the father returned from his business trip, he discovered that all of the son's personal possessions had been removed from the home. In June and July of 2013, the mother commenced petitions for divorce and custody in India. The father obtained an ex parte order in Ontario that the mother return the child to Ontario and he was awarded temporary custody. The mother did not return the child to Ontario. The father brought a motion to have the mother found in contempt of that order in 2018. The mother appeared in person and admitted that she had taken the child without the father's permission. She advised the court that she wanted to return to Ontario to address the custody and access issues. The motion judge found that the child's habitual residence was Ontario and proceeded on the basis that the Ontario courts had jurisdiction. He made a final order granting sole custody to the father and ordered that the child be returned to Ontario. The mother's appeal was allowed and the return order was set aside.