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Monday, October 1, 2012

ANDRAE MARROCCO JOINS DICKINSON WRIGHT

Andrae Marrocco has joined the Toronto office of Dickinson Wright LLP as of counsel.

Marrocco, former vice president and general counsel of AISystems Inc., was recently senior associate at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP.

He advises private and public corporations, businesses, and entrepreneurs on a range of corporate and finance transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, commercial contracts, structured finance agreements, restructurings, corporate governance, and international transactions.

INTERPRETER SHORTAGE A ‘SERIOUS SITUATION’

The lack of accredited interpreters continues to be a challenge for the court system, a new ruling indicates.

In R. v. Pecson, Superior Court Justice Leonard Ricchetti faced the dilemma of a trial with no accredited interpreter for Tagalog available.

“Given the Ministry of the Attorney General’s policy regarding the use of accredited interpreters for trial and the fact there are no accredited Tagalog interpreters in Ontario, this creates a very serious situation in criminal matters,” Ricchetti wrote in the Sept. 18 ruling.

“This is a matter which needs to be addressed by the Ministry of the Attorney General immediately.”

After the Crown suggested two Tagalog interpreters for the trial of Dennis Pecson, defence counsel objected to a court inquiry as to their competency.

Ricchetti, however, decided to go ahead anyway given his conclusion that the accused had the right to a competent, but not necessarily an accredited, interpreter.

In the end, Ricchetti noted, defence counsel suggested Sophie Reyesleger, a conditionally accredited interpreter, for the trial. As a result, the court rescheduled Pecson’s trial for Jan. 7.

But Ricchetti emphasized the need for the province to act quickly on the lack of interpreters. “One suggestion is that any applications for accreditation for Tagalog interpreters be expedited as I understand one of the two proffered Tagalog interpreters is waiting to be tested,” he wrote.

OTTAWA COURT CLOSED DUE TO FLOOD

A flood brought a temporary halt to proceedings at the Ottawa courthouse last Tuesday.

The flood forced the building’s evacuation and closure for the day.

The courthouse closed after a water main broke just outside the Laurier Street entrance to the building, causing water to pour in.

The burst pipe caused delays of several cases, including a police sergeant’s high-profile sexual assault trial.

When service workers shut off the water main, it shut off the water to the courthouse and city hall.

The lack of running water for toilets and other necessities created a health and safety issue that prompted officials to close the building.

“We were about to recommence a jury trial and it turns out there’s been a pipe that broke in the criminal vault downstairs where they keep the exhibits and things and it was filling up with water,” said James Foord of Foord Davies LLP who’s also president of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa.

“I guess whenever they have that type of situation, the water will keep flowing until it fills the room which could include the cellblock.”

Foord said everyone in custody awaiting bail hearings or sentencing had their matters adjourned until Wednesday morning.

POLL RESULTS

The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

It appears many Law Times readers agree with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s report on the retention and disclosure of non-conviction records by police.

About 73 per cent of respondents agreed with the CCLA’s call for change to the system given concerns about disclosures of records related to withdrawn criminal charges, findings of not guilty, charges never laid, and non-criminal interactions such as mental-health situations.

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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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