July 2016 Update
India Talk – April 15
On my way to trekking in the Himalayas, I gave a talk at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy in New Delhi. The Vidhi Centre is an independent think-tank doing legal research and assisting the Indian government in making better laws for the country. Here’s the promo piece for the talk:
What can India learn from Canada on police reforms?
Join us on Friday for a talk by noted Canadian criminal law expert Mr. Ian Scott, who will share his experience of representing police services on administrative tribunals and investigations of serious offences involving on-duty police officers.
Mr. Abhay, Inspector General, Bureau of Police Research & Development will act as a respondent to provide the Indian perspective. [more]
My subsequent trip to Sikkim, India was perhaps even more interesting, with amazing views, rhododendrons in bloom, and yaks and porters hauling our gear up the Himalayan mountainside.
Metro Morning Interview – May 2nd, 2016
On May 2nd I chatted with CBC’s Metro Morning host Matt Galloway on issues between the SIU and Toronto Police Service. It begins at around seven minutes into the podcast and is roughly six minutes long: [Download Metro Morning podcast, Mon May 2, 2016, Loku SIU, mindfulness app, paddling the Don]
CACOLE Talk -What happens after a verdict of ‘Not Criminally Responsible’?
This year, the Canadian Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement’s conference took place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from May 9th to 11th, 2016. I joined the panel on ‘Police, the Courts and Mental Disorder’ to speak about my role as an Alternate Chair with the Ontario Review Board. The ORB has jurisdiction over those found Not Criminally Responsible in the criminal court system. The take-away message I tried to convey is the general level of success by the Board in assessing the level of risk of those who fall under its jurisdiction.
‘Tougher Bar to Prove Cop Misconduct’ – Lawyers Weekly – June 1st, 2016
The June 1st edition of the Lawyers Weekly has an article on the recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Jacobs v. Ottawa Police Services on the question of the onus of proof in police misconduct cases. In essence, this appellate decision confirms that the onus of proof is ‘clear and convincing evidence’ in cases adjudicated under the Police Services Act in light of comments made by the Supreme Court of Canada in Penner v. Niagara Regional Police Services.
Back to Western Law School in the Fall
I will be returning to Western Law School to teach criminal procedure to second and third year law students. There have been many developments in criminal procedure in the last few years. Here are some of new cases we’ll be discussing:
- Fearon – search of cell phones as incident to arrest;
- Vu – search warrant must expressly authorize seizure of cell phones;
- Chehil and MacKenzie – power to use sniffer dogs on reasonable suspicion;
- St. Cloud – public confidence ground to deny bail not to be used sparingly; and
- Kokopenance ¬– limits on representative juries for Aboriginal offenders.
And this year, we will be discussing the role of the prosecutor and defence counsel with attention to the recent decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal in Groia v. Law Society of Upper Canada.
I have been working with the Workplace Institute to deliver courses on investigative and interviewing techniques/methods. So far I have conducted two courses for the Ontario College of Trades and Apprentices and the Manitoba Ministry of Labour. More courses will be offered in the fall. I am also developing a new one-day course for the Institute on how to prepare for a hearing or tribunal. For more information, please go to: http://www.investigationstraining.com/
April 2016 Update
Phil’s Shed Party
In my last blog, (which I note was in December 2015 – sorry about that), I indicated that I was to be a willing participant in ‘Phil’s Shed Party’, a podcast series hosted by Phil Slayton, noted Canadian author, legal scholar and past president of PEN Canada. On January 20th, we talked about policing issues. Here’s the link
Newstalk 1010 Interview
I also wrote that I was interviewed by Jim Richards of Newstalk 1010 in December 2015 as part of his year-end roundup on topical news stories, including the trial of Toronto Police Constable James Forcillo for the shooting death of Sammy Yatim on a Toronto streetcar on July 27, 2013. The show aired later in December, but events have largely overtaken that discussion. As discussed below, Constable Forcillo was found guilty in January, and will be sentenced in May.
Jim Richards interviewed me again on April 5th on two issues related to the shooting death of Andrew Loku, and the decision by the current SIU Director not to lay charges. Jim asked about two things: first, what’s the standard for laying a charge after an SIU investigation into a lethal force case – I said reasonable grounds to believe the shooting was not justified.
The other question was whether the officer’s name should be released to the public when no charges are laid – I said ‘no’, that as a general policy position, an investigative agency should not disclose the name of a subject under investigation when charges are not laid. My reasoning is this: if the investigator concludes there are no reasonable grounds to believe an offence took place, no-one should have to face the stigma of being the subject of a criminal investigation.
Here’s the link. Go to the April 5th Jim Richards showgram, and the interview starts at 15:05 minutes into the show.
The Forcillo Verdict
On Monday January 26, 2016, Constable Forcillo was found guilty by a jury of attempted murder in the shooting death of Sammy Yatim. I was interviewed by Matt Galloway on CBC’s Metro Morning the next day. Here’s the link to the interview.
February 22-23rd Conference in Tbilisi, Georgia
I spoke at a conference about civilian oversight of policing in Canada in Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, a state of the former Soviet Union, now an independent country. This is the third time I have spoken at conferences sponsored by George Soros’ Open Societies Foundation in countries of the former Soviet Union. The justice systems in these countries face problems we simply do not see in Canada. The police there still use physical torture to exact confessions, there is virtually no independent oversight or judiciary, and the prosecution services seem to have no independence from the police. On top of this, these countries are small with fragile economies, and are troubled by sectarian movements. In the face of this adversity, Nika Jeiranashvili, manager of the Human Rights Program at Open Society Georgia Foundation, is proposing changes that will foster independent investigations of allegations of police misconduct, which, if accepted by the Georgian government, will be a significant step forward.
However, all was not serious. Our organizers took us on a tour of the area outside Tbilisi, which included a visit to the Svetitshoveli Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles built in 1010-1029. We dropped in to see a traditional Georgian wedding.
And I met with Anna Dolidze in the old part of Tbilisi. Anna is a professor at Western Law School, where I teach a couple of courses, who is on a leave of absence and is currently the Deputy Minister of Defence for the country.
I recently returned from speaking at a conference in Port of Spain, Trinidad, called ‘Challenges and Benefits of Oversight Bodies’ organized by the country’s Police Complaints Authority. I spoke about three legal decisions impacting on the question of police powers and oversight. The last day was devoted to discussing a constitution for a proposed association of oversight organizations for English-speaking countries of the Caribbean region.
I spoke about the role of appellate courts from different jurisdictions supporting police oversight because, I submitted, they see oversight as an extension of the rule of the law. I discussed how three international courts have incorporated the need for independent and thorough investigations in this context as an extension of the constitutional right to life, liberty and security of the person.
Here’s a final slide from my PP.
What I should NOT have done at the conference was attempt to learn the butterfly dance in a public space:
April 15th, New Delhi India
On April 15th, I’ll be speaking at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy in New Delhi India on the Canadian experience with civilian oversight of the police. The Centre is an independent think-tank doing legal research and assisting the Indian government in making better laws.
May 9th, Saskatoon Saskatchewan
I will be on a panel at the annual Canadian Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement conference held this year in Saskatoon on the topic of ‘Citizens, Police and Mental Health’. I will be speaking about what happens to those found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder (NCR) after a criminal trial. I sit as an part-time alternate chair on the Ontario Review Board – it is this Board’s responsibility to hold a hearing and to make a disposition for each accused found NCR, taking into consideration the “need to protect the public from dangerous persons, the mental condition of the accused, the reintegration of the accused into society and the other needs of the accused.”