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Criminal Justice & Evidentiary Thresholds in Canada: the last ten years - a conference

A Conference

When: Saturday October 26, 2019

Where: Robson Hall, Moot Court

‘Legal knowledge’ and ‘knowing’ in the courtroom, often referred to as the law of evidence, has undergone radical transformation over the last ten years. 2019 marks the ten year anniversary of the landmark case of R v Grant, which reoriented the test for exclusion of evidence at trial due to the state’s Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms breaches as a balancing act in which the seriousness of the state conduct is measured, and on which the impact on the protected interest of accused persons were used to assess whether evidence should be excluded or included in a trial based on society’s interests in the adjudication of the merits of the criminal matter. What does the conception of knowledge mean in modern criminal legal proceedings? How has knowing and constructing criminal responsibility changed in the legal context over the last ten years in light of changes in evidence law, conceptions of vulnerability and enhanced digital and informational connectivity? How do we visualize criminality in the information age? This conference aims to discuss and unpack these questions.

Keynote Speaker: 12:45PM-1:45PM

Section 24(2) of the Charter: A Comparative Analysis (working title)

The decision of courts to accept or exclude evidence serves as a vital point of contact and communication between the legal system and the rest of the criminal justice system. Exclusion of improperly obtained evidence is the most discussed and litigated of all constitutional remedies not only in Canada, but many other countries. Following an approach informed by legal process and dialogic theories, it will be argued that courts should stick to what they do best- ensuring fair trials and effective remedies for violations of the rights of the specific litigants- but that they also need to be more active in asking the legislature and the executive including police services to take steps to prevent repetitive violations and if need should consider more intrusive remedies should similar violations persist. This would result in a very different and arguably smarter and more sustainable form of judicial activism than seen in the United States during the 1960’s. The court should also use exclusion decisions to inform their own practices including addressing concerns that much of the law restraining police conduct is unclear.

Featured Speakers:

Adelina Iftene, Schulich Law

Rebecca Bromwich, Carleton Legal Studies

John Burchill, Winnipeg Police Services

Michelle Lawrence, UVic Law

David Milward, UVic Law

Nicole O’Byrne, UNB Law

Michael Nesbitt, UCalgary Law

Lisa Silver, UCalgary Law

Erin Sheley, UOklahoma Law

Hygiea Casiano, UMan Psych

Sabrina Demetrioff, UMan Psych

Ruby Dhand, TRU Law

Kerri Joffe, ARCH

Adam Baker

Vanessa Kinnear

James Gacek, URegina Justice

Rosemary Ricciardelli, MUN Sociology, Crim

Lauren Menzie, UAlta, Sociology

Taryn Hepburn, Carleton Sociolegal Studies

Alicia Dueck-Read, Robson Hall

Michelle Bertrand, UWinnipeg CJ

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