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Cannabis & kids…what could get you in trouble if you leave pot or edibles out and the kids get into it.  We ask lawyer Kyla Lee.

“I agree most people are using common sense and we don’t need to turn it into a hysterical think of the children type of conversation it can be more think about yourself and what the potential consequences are going to be to you if you let your cannabis fall into the wrong hands.”

“I think the difference is that generally speaking when you look at prescription medication, it doesn’t look attractive. It is pill, small and white and they don’t look attractive to eat. Whereas lots of cannabis products look attractive to children whether it is candies, brownies or cookies and that’s where the danger lies.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

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Liberal MLA Jas Johal is calling for pot enforcement now, after several small black packages with “microdosed candy” were placed on the windshields of cars parked outside a Vancouver marijuana conference over the weekend.

“It’s time to start enforcing,” said Johal, the MLA for Richmond-Queensborough. “Clearly some of these companies feel emboldened and have gone as far as marketing these products by putting them on windshields. They need to be reminded that this is not acceptable, that this is a public hazard. It’s an issue of public safety at the end of the day and it concerns me deeply.”

Vancouver lawyer Kyla Lee said that whoever did distribute the packages had broken federal laws.

“This was a big mistake by someone,” Lee said.

While it has been legal for the authorized sale of dried cannabis in Canada since Oct. 17, 2018, it’s illegal to market and distribute edible cannabis. Lee said the federal government is seeking public input on plans to legalize the sale of edible cannabis and it’s expected to become law in the fall.

“You can’t sell (edible cannabis) and you can’t put it under windshield wipers because you don’t know who it might end up in the hands of,” Lee said. “Just because a car is parked at that location, you don’t know the driver isn’t 16.”

Click here to read the full article.

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Welcome to Cases That Should Have Gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, But Didn’t! This week, lawyer Kyla Lee discusses assisted dying

Acumen Law Corporation lawyer Kyla Lee gives her take on a made-in-Canada court case each week and discusses why these cases should have been heard by Canada’s highest court: the Supreme Court of Canada.

Nedeljko Mikasinovic was convicted by a jury of assault causing bodily harm. He had originally been charged with aggravated assault and prior to that, had an original trial for two charges including aggravated assault. In his first trial, the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on whether or not he had committed the offence and there was a hung jury and a new trial on that charge was ordered.

Because he was acquited on the first charge, and ultimately convicted of a lesser included offence, sentencing became a very complicated process. Mr. Mikasinovic argued at his hearing that he should not be sentenced for the offence on which he was acquited, nor should he be sentenced for the consequences of an aggravated assault since he was convicted only of a lesser included offence.

Mr. Mikasinovic sought leave to the Supreme Court of Canada, arguing that sentencing judges should not be able to take into account the things in which he had been acquited.

Unfortunately, the SCC did not see the nuance that was present here and the nuance that impacts so many people who are agreeing to plead guilty to lesser charges every day or who are found guilty of lesser charges by judges every day throughout this country.

Watch the video for more.

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The Court of Appeal for British Columbia has given the Canadian government more time to enact new legislation to replace its solitary confinement law.

A year ago, the BC Supreme Court ruled sections of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act that authorize the administrative segregation, also known as solitary confinement, to be unconstitutional. The government was given one year to enact replacement legislation. It filed an appeal with the BC Court of Appeal last November while also introducing Bill C-83 to amend the current Act.

On Tuesday. The Court of Appeal for BC dismissed the appeal but extended the deadline for the government to enact new legislation to June 17. The Court also imposed new conditions on how solitary confinement can be implemented in prisons in the meantime.

Why were the solitary confinement laws found unconstitutional?

The government has argued solitary confinement is a necessary evil in order to segregate violent inmates from the general prison population. It says it is only used when all other avenues to protect the safety of prisoners and prison staff have failed. It also argued inmates in solitary confinement are still afforded “meaningful” contact with other people every day.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and The John Howard Society of Canada, who filed the original constitutional challenge, argue that solitary confinement does more harm than good by harming inmates’ mental health. They argue it defeats the purpose of prisons to rehabilitate criminals and, as a result, they pose a greater risk to public safety upon release.

Ultimately, the BC Supreme Court found solitary confinement laws, as they are currently conducted, to violate Charter Rights, such as Section 7, which protects “the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice”. Another key finding was that the process whereby prisoners were put in solitary lacked oversight and inmates lacked the right to legal representation at segregation hearings.

The Court of Appeal for BC decision

The three-judge appeal court panel found that the concerns that lead to the solitary confinement laws being struck down continued to have “considerable force”. The concerns included a “significant risk of serious psychological harm” that it places on inmates. The law was also found to discriminate against Indigenous prisoners as well as those with mental illnesses.

The Court of Appeal was left in a bit of a bind with this decision. It had to weigh the BC Supreme Court’s function as guardian of the constitution against public safety concerns. Allowing the government to delay would mean the constitutional breach would continue in prisons across the country. Doing so could also undermine the effectiveness of the courts as guardians of the constitution. Dismissing the government’s request, however, would amount to a sudden and complete ban on solitary confinement and put the security of prisoners and prison workers at risk.

The Court balanced these two arguments by giving the government another six months to enact new legislation while stipulating a number of conditions that must be imposed until replacement laws are in place.

What conditions did the Court of Appeal impose?

The conditions the Court of Appeal for BC imposed on the Correctional Service of Canada include:

  • Daily visits of health care professionals with inmates in administrative segregation must include a visual observation of the inmate, unless, due to exceptional circumstances, such observation would jeopardize the safety of Correctional Service of Canada personnel.
  • Inmates in solitary confinement must be offered an additional 30 minutes of yard time each day, and have an opportunity to leave their cells for a minimum of two-and-a-half hours per day.
  • Prisoners must be allowed to have legal counsel at hearings related to their placement in solitary confinement, and must be informed of that right.
  • The government must ensure that Indigenous Elders routinely visit segregation units and be able to offer one on one counselling to Indigenous prisoners.
  • The government must start to open units outside of solitary confinement for prisoners who do not wish to integrate into the mainstream prison population or who are assessed as being unable to integrate safely.
  • A system of review of solitary placements must be created whereby “no inmate will remain in administrative segregation for more than fifteen days without such continued detention being authorized by a senior official who is neither the institutional head of the institution where the inmate is incarcerated nor a person who is subordinate to that institutional head.

These conditions answer many of the concerns raised at the original BC Supreme Court hearing while also allowing solitary confinement to continue in its current form until new legislation can come into place. The pressure is now on the government to do so before its deadline and, crucially, before the federal election.

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B.C.’s new pot cops will not be raiding Vancouver’s illegal marijuana stores anytime soon.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Public Safety, the Community Safety Unit isn’t yet operational.

The news may be a relief for the 20 or so illegal pot shops still operating in Vancouver, however, lawyer Kyla Lee said they should be worried about City of Vancouver plans to use a recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling against them. That ruling came after dozens of illegal pot shops claimed the city had no right to govern their operations.

“It looks like the city is going to be applying for injunctions to keep the shops from operating and they’ve threatened that they are going to be giving people jail time,” Lee said.

To read the full article, click here.

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Two Quebecers suffering from incurable degenerative diseases were in court Monday to challenge provincial and federal laws that have left them ineligible for medically assisted death.  We ask lawyer Kyla Lee where she sees the assisted dying conversation going.

“I don’t agree with that decision at all. I think what it actually says is that for people who have lives that are intolerable to live but still have many many years left to living that intolerable life, that society and under particular our legal system doesn’t value their independence enough to let them make a decision about what they want to do with their lives.”

“We let people make decisions about their medical future in other contexts. You can sign something like ‘do not resuscitate orders’ so that if something happens to you and you stop breathing they can’t bring you back to life.”

Click here to listen to the full podcast.

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The federal government is giving Canadians until Feb. 20 to pipe up on phase two of the nation’s ongoing rollout of legal cannabis.

Proposed regulations around edibles, extracts and topicals were released Dec. 20 and the main talking points centre around allowable THC levels, messaging and ensuring the packages are kid proof.

On the topic of behind the wheel, Kyla Lee said the new impaired driving laws that came into effect in December do contain topics of interest on the edibles front. Specifically, don’t ingest an edible and then drive, even if you get behind the wheel 10 minutes — long before the effects are typically felt — after the edible is consumed.

“Because it was within two hours of when you drove, then that is sufficient to establish that you were impaired at the time that you were driving,” Lee said. “It’s not a defence to claim that you took the edible and it hadn’t kicked in yet.”

To read the full article, click here.

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A Port Alberni couple and another man have been charged after the trio filmed the takedown of a 28-year-old man they say arrived to have sex with their 13-year-old daughter.

The incident is alleged to have happened at a Port Alberni home on April 12, 2018.

Hog-tied and face down on the ground, the man’s image was streamed on Facebook Live for the world to see.

Acumen Law criminal lawyer Kyla Lee, who is not connected to the case, said the courts will look at the issue of self-defence – and whether the actions of the accused were reasonable to protect the child or whether they went too far.

“The big question will become at trial — whether or not their actions were reasonable in protecting their child and that’s going to be what this case is decided on,” she said.

To read the full article and to watch the news story, click here.

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We’ve been talking about cyberbullying today on the show.  This follows Team Canada’s Captain, Maxime Comtois being bullied following the loss at The World Juniors.

Our next guest, Kyla Lee, has been bullied in the past and also know about the law in regards to internet abuse.

“There was a group of people who created a website. They went so far as to purchase a domain name and create a site all about how much they hated me.”

“I think if you are a youth, you should approach as many adults as you can to explain what is going on. The other advice is that if the police are not going to take the issue seriously, consult with a lawyer because lawyers can put pressure on the police to investigate something or perhaps explain why it meets the standards of criminal harassment. ”

To listen to the full podcast, click here.

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Welcome to Cases That Should Have Gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, But Didn’t! This week, lawyer Kyla Lee discusses assisted dying

Acumen Law Corporation lawyer Kyla Lee gives her take on a made-in-Canada court case each week and discusses why these cases should have been heard by Canada’s highest court: the Supreme Court of Canada.

Julia Lamb filed a lawsuit against the federal government on the basis of the new assisted dying laws that she argues contain the same constitutional defects that were originally found by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Carter case. In her case, she argued that she should be able to rely on all of the factual findings and evidence relied on by the court in the Carter decision, rather than having to relitigate everything.

The attorney general of Canada filed a response indicating that it did not agree that the facts and the evidence were the same in relation to the issue of assisted dying and asking that the matter is relitigated in its entirety.

This case raises a very important issue. Where you have legislation that’s declared unconstitutional by the SCC, and it’s replaced with new legislation that arguably shares those same flaws, shouldn’t it be better and wouldn’t it be easier and more efficient to just allow these cases to be heard on the basis of the original evidence filed in the original hearing?

Watch the video for more.

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