Adverse Effects of Isolated Confinement Among Pre-Trial Prisoners

by Kirk Dobrowolski* and Jared Craig   Critics claim that isolated confinement can amount to inhumane treatment bordering on torture. Isolated confinement can cause severe mental pain and suffering. In fact, studies have found that lasting mental damage is caused after just a few days of social isolation.[i] The main body of scientific opinion on the […]

Secondary DNA Transfer and Unsafe Conviction

The Case of Lukis Anderson In 2012, Lukis Anderson was charged with murder. The case against Anderson was circumstantial – based solely on evidence of DNA transference. But it was later learned that his DNA had made it to the crime scene by way of the paramedics who had treated Anderson earlier on the same […]

Oland Trial Highlights Presumption of Innocence

On July 19, 2019, Dennis Oland was found not guilty in the bloody, bludgeoning death of his father, New Brunswick multimillionaire Richard Oland. Proceedings spanned eight years — including a conviction, successful appeal, retrial, mistrial, and ultimately, an acquittal. In the wake of Oland’s acquittal, much has, and will continue to be written, and discussed […]

Collateral Consequences Since R v Suter – Three Cases for Consideration

The doctrine of collateral consequences ensures that incidental consequences for unusual cases are “fairly and sympathetically addressed” with an appreciation of the “vicissitudes of human experience”.[1] In this post, the author surveys three interesting decisions which have considered the doctrine of ‘collateral consequences’ in the 8 months since the SCC rendered its judgment in R […]

The Applicability of Gladue Principles to Bail

Our bail system is failing. In Canada, over 250,000 pre-trial persons, are held in provincial and territorial detention centres across the country, more than triple that a decade ago,[1] exceeding even the population of sentenced inmates – [2] housed in environments that that fuel “crowding, violence and inhumane conditions”.[3] But it appears that this crisis in […]

The 3-Year Maskell Starting Point Sentences for Commercial Cocaine Trafficking in Alberta

Criminal law is the quintessential benchmark of community values in a society -The Honourable Judge A.J. Brown In the decision of R v Maskell (1981),[1] the Alberta Court of Appeal established a 3-year starting point sentence for commercial trafficking in cocaine. Since it’s inception, and particularly in recent years, the interpretation and application of starting […]

Criminal Law and the Frontiers of Neuroscience

A primary task for neuroscience is to explain how a two-and-a-half-pound hunk of organic matter produces consciousness intentionality, responsiveness, mental causation, and all the other mental apparatus that is so central to our lives…”[1] We are witness to an age of tremendous developments in the fields of clinical and theoretical neuroscience. Contemporary advancements continue to […]

Resource Inequality and Access to Justice

“The system comes down hardest on those without the means to defend themselves… It’s easy to prosecute those people and put them away and not think twice about it because no one is speaking for them”   The Battle of Thermopylae Thermopylae is a mountain pass near the sea in northern Greece. It has been […]

Wrongful Conviction and Defence Advocacy

“The presumption of innocence is a hallowed principle lying at the very heart of criminal law. It confirms our faith in humankind.”   At 16 years of age, David Milgaard was charged with the rape and murder of Gail Miller. He served 23 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He recently […]