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Monday, September 26, 2011

MAN GETS CREDIT FOR HOUSE-ARREST-LIKE BAIL

An Ontario Superior Court judge has awarded 20 months in pretrial credit to a Toronto businessman for the six years he was subjected to house-arrest-like bail conditions before his trial in a high-profile arson case.

Justice Todd Ducharme imposed a 12-year sentence against John Magno, less pretrial credit, for his conviction by a jury this summer on a charge of manslaughter and three arson-related offences.

One of the men recruited by Magno to burn down his family’s building supply store on Christmas Eve 2001, died when the east-end Toronto building exploded prematurely.

Magno’s trial faced years of delay as co-conspirators were tried first and also as a result of legal battles involving the constitutionality of the “unlawful object” murder provisions in s. 229(c) of the Criminal Code.

Magno, 53, was originally charged in 2002 with second-degree murder in the death of his accomplice.

From 2002 until 2008, Magno was subject to strict bail conditions that were similar to house arrest. The house-arrest condition was lifted in 2008 and for the past three years, Magno was subject to traditional bail terms.

Defence lawyer Marie Henein argued her client was entitled to four to six years of pretrial credit for the more than nine years he was on bail.

Ducharme rejected that submission in his sentencing ruling on Sept. 23. “While I appreciate there is no formula to be applied to this sort of determination, the defence submission grossly exceeds the credit he should be awarded for the time he has spent on bail,” he stated.

The judge explained that Magno wasn’t getting any credit for the past three years he was subject to standard bail terms.

The leading case on this rarely adjudicated issue is R v. Downes, a 2006 decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal. The appellant had his term reduced by five months for the 18 months he was on a house-arrest pretrial bail in a domestic violence case.

Ducharme cited the decision in Downes and stressed that the “overriding consideration” was the impact of the bail conditions on the accused.

The bail terms imposed on Magno for the first five years after his arrest “were even more stringent” than what Downes faced, Ducharme noted. But he awarded pretrial credit at the exact same ratio as in Downes at just over one month for every four months on bail with house-arrest conditions.

— Shannon Kari

ANTI-CORRUPTION TEAM LAUNCHED

Norton Rose OR LLP has launched a business ethics and anti-corruption team in Canada.

The group, which comprises members of the firm’s regulatory, litigation, business, financial institutions, and global corporate social responsibility practice areas, aims to help clients navigate increasingly complex rules applying to companies doing business in Canada and elsewhere.

“Canadian businesses are now operating in an environment where there is an increasing focus on business ethics and anti-corruption issues,” said Paul Conlin, Ottawa partner and chairman of the Canadian business ethics and anti-corruption team.

“New legislation in key markets such as the U.K. is having a major impact, as is greater scrutiny from governments, shareholders, business partners, and other stakeholders. Ensuring compliance by employees and agents operating in Canada and foreign countries can present significant challenges for Canadian companies.”

DAVIES LAWYER JOINS NETWORK’S BOARD

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP partner Carol Hansell has been appointed to the board of the International Corporate Governance Network.

The network has a global membership of more than 500 leaders in corporate governance from 50 countries with a mission to raise standards of corporate governance worldwide. Hansell is the only Canadian serving on the board.

Hansell has 25 years of experience leading corporate and securities transactions and was lead author of the firm’s paper on the quality of the shareholder vote in Canada. The paper highlighted deficiencies in the proxy voting system.

“Carol is internationally recognized as a leading authority in corporate governance,” said Shawn McReynolds, managing partner at Davies’ Toronto office.

“Her deep knowledge of policy and practice of critical governance issues in North America as well as globally has positioned her to provide unique, sophisticated advice on questions of key concern to our clients.”

FELLOWSHIP HONOURS JOHN A. TORY

The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management has established a fellowship in memory of Torys LLP co-founder John A. Tory with a $180,000 commitment from Thomson Reuters.

The annual fellowship will provide a $40,000 award to a full-time MBA student. Recipients will also have the opportunity to participate in a competitive 10-week paid internship in the summer associates program at Thomson Reuters prior to their last year of study.

Thomson Corp. was a key client of Tory, who went on to serve as president of Woodbridge Co. Ltd., the Thomson family holding company. He was also an adviser to Canadian corporate giants Rogers Communications Inc. and the Royal Bank of Canada.

“John Tory was an optimist who believed the future yields untold promise,” said David Thomson, chairman of Thomson Reuters.

“In his honour, we are pleased to partner with the University of Toronto to support the next generation of business leaders, consistent with John’s legacy of passion and curiosity for all

facets of business combined with his unparalleled grace, integrity, humility and work ethic.”

Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman school, was also full of praise for Tory. “We are humbled by the opportunity to house the John Tory Fellowship at the Rotman school,” he said. “John was a friend and colleague and one of the finest business minds of his generation.”

REAL ESTATE LAWYER RETURNS TO BLAKES

Pierre-Denis Leroux has returned to Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP seven years after he left to become a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

Leroux becomes a partner with Blakes’ real estate group in Montreal.

“It’s great to welcome Pierre-Denis back to Blakes,” said firm chairman Brock Gibson. “Pierre-Denis is a leading real estate practitioner and is very well-connected in the Quebec business community. We’re pleased to have him back at the firm.”

Leroux practises commercial law focusing on acquisition and disposition of real estate, structured and secured financing, and securitization.

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