East Law litigates hundreds of successful cases on a yearly basis. On top of being fierce litigators, the lawyers at East Law are also effective negotiators who often receive excellent results for their clients through resolutions. Below is simply a snapshot of the many cases East Law has won.
Location: Simcoe Courthouse
This case was included because it reminds us that mere presence at the scene of a crime is not criminal itself
In this case, the client was charged with one of the most serious charges that exists, Attempt Murder.
The client was part of two groups of conspirators who took it upon themselves to rob a marihuana grow-op located on a farm on a secluded country road. The client and his conspirators believed that hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash would be stashed at this location.
On the day of the incident, the client and his friend attended a nearby Walmart to purchase masks so that they could disguise themselves during the robbery. This purchase was captured on Walmart surveillance, which did not show the client specifically handling or purchasing the masks himself.
Later that night, the client and two other individuals, along with another group in a separate vehicle, drove to a spot located about a mile away from the grow-op, and proceeded to the grow -op on foot. Two unknown individuals went inside the home where the owner of the home awoke and confronted the robbers. An altercation ensued and the victim was shot in the chest. At that point in time, all parties who had attended the scene fled.
While driving away from the scene, the client and his two friends were pulled over by police. Police never located the second vehicle. Upon a search of the vehicle the client was driving, which was registered to the client’s friend, a mask and latex gloves were seized from the car. There was also damage to the side and front end of the car.
When police searched the scene, they found a second mask located near the property, and fragments of latex gloves suggesting that more than three assailants had attended. They did not discover a firearm. When the victim was eventually interviewed by police, he said he remembered that the assailants were wearing masks.
Going into the preliminary hearing, East Law had it on good authority that the masks seized were not used by the assailants that entered the home. Moreover, the assailants that entered the home did not use masks and got away in the second vehicle.
At the preliminary hearing, East Law elicited evidence that suggested police had told the victim about the masks before he gave his police statement. Moreover, East Law elicited from the victim that at first, he did not recall seeing masks, but later he remembered this ‘fact’ because it ‘came to him in a dream’.
After extensive research, East Law successfully argued on day seven of the preliminary hearing, that mere presence at the scene of a crime is not illegal. There was no DNA linking the client to any of the masks or gloves seized. East Law further argued that unless the Crown had some evidence as to what the client’s role was in this robbery, the court could not conclude that he aided and abetted the Attempt Murder. The judge agreed and held that there was not enough evidence to warrant the matter heading to trial. The client was acquitted on the Attempt Murder Charge.
Location: Hamilton Courthouse
This case has been included because it raises an interesting issue – that is, is it legal to Assault your own child? The answer is yes if the physical discipline is used in a specific manner.
This was a case where the client was warned by the Children’s Aid Society that physical discipline was an inappropriate form of discipline against his son. A few months later his son was acting up and threw pieces of Lego at his brother and the client’s wife. The client’s wife asked the client to discipline his son. While the client’s son ran near the client, he was alleged to have slapped his son twice on the upper thigh and once on the side of the head. A few days later acute bruising appeared on his son’s upper thigh. When the client’s wife noticed the bruising, she reported the incident to police.
When the client was arrested for Assault, he advised police that he did not hit his son in the head and that he merely tapped his son on the thigh to discipline him. The client was adamant that he did not hit his son hard enough to cause bruising. He reported that a few days prior to his arrest, his son was playing with kids in the neighborhood who hit him in that area which he believed caused the bruising.
After meticulous research, East Law raised the defence that physical discipline (aka Assault against your children) is legal under s.43 of the Criminal Code. The discipline, however, must be for corrective purposes, the force exerted must be reasonable, and the discipline must not stem from a caregiver’s frustration, loss of temper, of abusive personality. Moreover, the corrective force mut be of a transitory or trifling nature.
Upon extensive cross examination, East Law elicited that the son was indeed playing with other kids in the neighborhood just before the bruising emerged where he was in fact hit on the upper thigh. This evidence removed the inference that the client, beyond a reasonable doubt, caused the bruising. East Law successfully argued that while the discipline exerted may have been a quick reaction, it fell within the parameters of the s.43 Defence and was not indicative of somebody acting out of frustration. The client was acquitted.
Location: Hamilton Courthouse
This case was included because it teaches us that even if you are the driver and owner of the vehicle, you cannot necessarily be expected to have knowledge and control over everything inside the vehicle.
In this case, the client and a friend drove to pick up further acquaintances from a house in the East End of Hamilton. Unbeknown to the client, this house was under surveillance by the HEAT division of Hamilton police. This is a special division of the Hamilton Police force that investigates drug trafficking.
As three males exited the house and entered the client’s car, the client began driving away. Undercover officers followed the car and conducted a stop. They arrested the client for a traffic violation, and while making the arrest, the officer noted he saw a drug pipe in the driver side of the vehicle. The other occupants were then arrested and searched as well for drugs.
Upon a search of the car, police located drugs inside a backpack on the back seat. They also seized packages of cocaine and fentanyl on the grass area by the passenger side of the car that were believed to have been thrown there by one of the occupants.
After vigorous cross examination of the arresting officer, East Law raised the issue of whether the officer would indeed be able to see a small pipe tucked away in the driver’s side door, at night, while the client was standing in front of the door and the officer was standing behind the client effecting an arrest.
East law then advanced the argument that while it was tempting, by virtue of the fact the client was the driver and registered owner of the car, to assume that the client knew what was inside the backpacks located on the back seat, or that drugs were thrown onto the grass, this was a very prejudicial assumption. Unless the Crown provided some evidence as to the nature of the relationship between the driver and his occupants (which they did not), or that there was some evidence inside the backpacks suggesting it belonged to the client (which there was not), the Crown had no evidence whatsoever against the client. The judge agreed. The client was acquitted of the drug charges.
Location: Newmarket Courthouse
This case was included because it highlights that despite the fact someone suffers serious injuries, dangerous driving can be a difficult charge to prove.
The client in this case agreed to drive the Complainant’s van to help her move. They arrived at the Complainant’s address just north of Newmarket, Ontario, to load the ‘mini van’ the client was driving. This incident occurred in the winter.
One of the items that were loaded was a small freezer that was tied to the roof of the car. The client did not participate in tying the freezer to the roof but felt that it looked secure. The roof did not have racks of any kind. Lose items were also strewn about in the trunk of the van and backseat.
Upon leaving the residence, the client and his friends headed to a bar for a few drinks. The client did not consume any alcohol, but his friends had several shots.
Once they left the bar, they headed towards an address in southern York Region. The next thing the client remembers is that there was an argument between his friend sitting in the passenger seat and an occupant in the back. The client lost control and crashed at high speed into a lamp post. The lose items in the back, upon impact, catapulted forward and hit the client in the head knocking him out. Bystanders then called police.
When the client came too, his friends were already chatting with police. He later learned that one of his friends suffered a broken back and spent numerous months in hospital.
The issue that East Law raised was if the client was to be convicted of dangerous driving, the Crown needed some evidence to show that the client’s driving was so far below a reasonable standard that it was, well, to put it simply, dangerous. The Crown attempted to highlight the carelessness of the client’s driving by placing lose items in the trunk and back seat, unsecured, along with tying a freezer to the roof. This strategy ultimately failed.
In cross examination of the Complainant who suffered the broken back, East Law elicited that during the argument between the front passenger and the occupant in the back, she did not remain facing forward. In fact, East Law revealed that during the argument she turned to her left to engage the back seat occupant, and in doing so, pushed on the client’s right arm for leverage. Since this contact may have caused the client to swerve and lose control of the vehicle, the Crown did not prove the charge of dangerous driving beyond a reasonable doubt. The client was acquitted.
Location: Hamilton Courthouse
This case was included because it reminds the lawyers at East Law that even if a case smells, feels, and looks like it is ‘unwinnable,’ if you work hard enough, any case can be won.
The client in this case was in custody at Barton jail on numerous drug trafficking charges. While in custody, several women overdosed on drugs and had to be taken to the hospital. The client was one of the women who overdosed.
When the client was escorted by police back to the jail from the Hospital, she was subjected to a ‘body scan’ which revealed a small blue package tied up in her hair. Police seized the package, weighed, it, and sent a sample of its contents to the Centre of Forensic Science. The sample tested as Fentanyl and was weighed out to be 8.6 grams.
In this case, the Defence chose not to dispute that the client was in possession of the drugs, but East Law did vigorously argue that the Court could not conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the drugs seized were for the purposes of trafficking.
For the Crown to prove their case, they required an expert opinion. The Drug Expert had years of experience investigating trafficking cases and testified that the average dose of fentanyl was 0.1 grams. Moreover, in his experience, fentanyl users were extremely dependent, they were only ever concerned about their next fix, and they never bought fentanyl in large quantities. In his experience, users usually only bought 0.1-0.5 grams of fentanyl at a time.
East Law soon realized that while on its surface, having a client who was caught with drugs while in jail for drug trafficking seemed like a losing case, the fact that she was in jail could be used in the client’s favour to win. In other words. East Law argued that all the ‘expert’s’ opinion was based on drug investigations on the street. But what if the client knew she was going to jail and wanted to stock up? What if because there is constant surveillance in jail, making one big drug buy is safer than making numerous small purchases? East Law highlighted that the Expert’s evidence was unreliable because he had no experience investigating drug trafficking in the jail setting, and therefore, was not really an expert in this context. Since there was not evidence linking the client to the sale of drugs to the other woman who overdosed, the client was acquitted of Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking. She was convicted on simple drug possession and was sentenced to 6 months jail as opposed to 5-8 years.