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Monday, August 6, 2012

LAO DEVELOPING MENTAL-HEALTH STRATEGY

Legal Aid Ontario will create a new strategy to improve services for clients with mental-health issues, the organization announced in a statement.

Currently, LAO’s strategy provides extra funding to criminal lawyers whose legal aid clients have mental-health issues. LAO also funds legal clinics that support clients who have mental-health issues as well as duty-counsel assistance in court.

According to LAO’s press release, the new strategy will build on those efforts in order to provide more efficient and effective client services.

“The board is enthusiastic about this important opportunity to work in consultation with our stakeholders to improve our services to our clients,” said LAO chairman John McCamus.

NOTED LAWYER DIES

Ontario lawyer John Plater died late last month.

Among his many pursuits, Plater served as co-chairman of the ministerial advisory council on the federal initiative to address HIV-AIDS in Canada.

According to a release by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Plater was a “tireless representative of people living with HIV, AIDS, and hepatitis C from across Canada and around the world.

“John dedicated his time and energy in the service of others. He will be missed and will be an inspiration to many for years to come.”

POLL RESULTS    

The results of the most recent Law Times online poll are in.

Nearly 64 per cent of respondents said there should be a national case management judge to schedule overlapping class actions across Canada.

The issue arises as the Ontario Superior Court dealt with the dilemma of 10 class actions filed in multiple provinces in the case of McSherry v. Zimmer GMBH on July 13.

CHARTER APPEAL DISMISSED

There was no violation of the rights of an Ontario man when he was segregated from fellow psychiatric patients at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in 2009, the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled.

Dismissing Paul Conway’s appeal, the appeal court ruled in Conway (Re) that although the appellant believed his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated, that he was held unlawfully when he was transferred to the south pod unit of CAMH in 2009, and that he should be conditionally discharged for the alleged violation, the move was necessary because he posed a significant threat to the public, staff, and other patients at the facility.

“Suffice it to say, the appellant’s behaviour and conduct made it impossible for him to remain with other patients.

Thereafter, a stalemate developed where the appellant continually rebuffed attempts by the staff to reintegrate him into the general population of patients,” wrote Justice Marc Rosenberg in his decision with justices Robert Sharpe and Russell Juriansz concurring.

“We are satisfied that the board’s finding that the transfer to south pod was necessary was reasonable.

We are also satisfied that the finding that the appellant remains a significant threat to the safety of the public is fully justified. The appellant suffers from a serious mental disorder for which he refuses treatment.”

Conway has been detained in various psychiatric facilities for almost 30 years since he was found not guilty by reason of insanity on a charge of sexual assault with a weapon, according to the appeal court’s ruling. He began residing at CAMH in 2005.

The Ontario Review Board ruled last year that Conway posed a significant threat to the public and that moving him to the south pod unit didn’t violate his Charter rights. The board also ordered his detention at a medium-security unit in Hamilton, Ont.

Conway argued his detention in the south pod unit was a form of “virtual segregation” that wasn’t the least onerous and restrictive measure and was contrary to the Charter.

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Law Times Poll


The Law Society of Upper Canada’s governing body has approved a proposal to create a new licence for paralegals that would train them in some aspects of family law such as form completion, uncontested divorces and motions to change. Do you agree with this move?
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