pro bono: proposed laws have activists doing more math

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kim elliott kim elliott's picture
pro bono: proposed laws have activists doing more math

In a new monthly column called "pro bono", Yukon-based lawyer Emily Hill writes that if proposed Conservative changes to the Criminal Code are passed, attending protests may have serious consequences for activists: 

Quote:

"Many of the people arrested at protests are released as long as they don't have outstanding warrants or court orders. They are not charged with any offence, and they leave police custody without leaving any more information than their name and address. Under the proposed legislation, they could be required to leave more -- fingerprints and photographs.

This change does two things: it lengthens the stay of each person at the police station, and intimidates people who have never been in police custody. In the long-term, this practice may deter would-be participants in large-scale protests."

And there is more. As usual with this government, I'm not totally suprised that they'd try to bring in this kind of legislative change, yet I'm shocked at the same time.

Full column here.

Hill wrote this piece for rabble.ca as part of a new monthly legal series called "pro bono". Here is the disclaimer:  Pro Bono provides legal information designed to educate and entertain readers. But legal information is not the same as legal advice -- the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. While efforts are made to ensure the legal information provided through these columns is useful, we strongly recommend you consult a lawyer for assistance with your particular situation to obtain accurate advice.

 

 

 

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The police have no right to arrest people without charge. If they don't have reasonable and probable grounds to make an arrest they are abusing their powers and they are, in theory, but not in practice, exposing themselves to civil liability.

That's under the current law. But false arrest, compounded with fingerprinting and photographing, is a major step forward towards a police state. This is a step already taken in the U.K., where in 2001 - before 9/11 - the law was amended to allow the police to take fingerprints and DNA samples from anyone who has been arrested, even if they are never convicted of a crime, and to retain those records and samples indefinitely. The UK now has a DNA database on its citizens unparalleled in scope in any dictatorship in the world. The European Court of Human Rights called the law a human rights violation, but it's still on the books.

triciamarie

Holy shit, this column also appears to suggest that the government is also proposing to eliminate judges' ability to give credit for time served in jail before sentencing!!!

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture
M. Spector M. Spector's picture

triciamarie wrote:

Holy shit, this column also appears to suggest that the government is also proposing to eliminate judges' ability to give credit for time served in jail before sentencing!!!

Yup, and the NDP voted for it!

Michelle

Seriously?  The NDP voted for this!?  WTF?  Are you sure?

Unionist

Uhhhh, yeah, please read the thread where we've been talking about this (linked by RP above). I opened the thread to praise the senators who tried to restore judicial discretion in sentencing. The response of certain babblers was that the Senate should be abolished. I maintain that the House of Commons should be abolished. Different view of democracy, I guess...

As for the position of the NDP, [url=why">http://www.rabble.ca/babble/national-news/senators-tone-down-unanimous-h... would anyone be surprised[/url]. They changed their policy on one day in January 2006 and have never looked back.

Michelle

Wow.  I just read it before coming back and seeing your post, Unionist. 

I'm speechless.

Fidel

M. Spector wrote:

triciamarie wrote:

Holy shit, this column also appears to suggest that the government is also proposing to eliminate judges' ability to give credit for time served in jail before sentencing!!!

Yup, and the NDP voted for it!

So why are the Reform-a-Tories there in Ottawa with a defacto majority today? We did have a chance to form a 62% majority coalition a number of months ago, but the Liberals(and certain babblers, too) were against it.

[url=[/url]">http://www.ndp.ca/press/happy-anniversary-liberals][IMG]http://img.photo...

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Ya, i'm pretty partisan NDP and it's bad but you folks are ruthless.  Tongue out

triciamarie

Quote:
Because of the difficulty inherent in being imprisoned in remand, the court system currently counts time served in remand against the time a person is to serve in jail if they are found guilty. Two months in remand may count as four months against a 10-year sentence. Factors such as the reasons for any delay of a trial, the conditions in remand, or whether they were forced into solitary confinement for reasons that are no fault of the prisoner (eg. mental illness) all affect how the judge decides to count pre-sentence time served.

The Conservative government amendments would limit a judge's discretion in granting credit for time in remand. 

(Emphasis added.)

Okay, when I read the above in that blog, I thought it meant that accused people who can't make bail would, under this new law, not receive any credit at all for their time spent in jail before sentencing. According to that other thread though (thanks for that link), those convicted of offences can still receive credit for their time in the hellhole before trial, but only up to the length of time served. What is eliminated is judges' discretion to grant double or triple credit for that time.

Someone suggested this change may be unconstitutional. I think the protester database is a big problem too. Isn't that handy for them that the court challenges program is gone. Are there any alternatives?

Anyway, great idea for a column. I'll definitely look forward to reading this every month.