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Monday, September 7, 2009

PECK TO PROSECUTE BRYANT CASE

The Ministry of the Attorney General has brought in prominent British Columbia lawyer Richard Peck to independently prosecute the Michael Bryant case.

Former Ontario attorney general Bryant is accused of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle after a cyclist died from allegedly being dragged aside a car on Toronto’s Bloor Street.

Bryant, in a letter to Toronto Mayor David Miller resigning his position as CEO of Invest Toronto Inc., maintains his innocence.

“Let me be clear: I am innocent of the very serious accusations made against me,” he said in the letter.

Toronto criminal lawyer Marie Heinen will represent Bryant.

Peck has been brought in to deal with many high-profile cases in which in-province Crowns may have faced a conflict. He was also lead defence counsel for accused Air India bomber Ajaib Singh Bagri.

The question now is whether the AG will see fit to put an out-of-province judge on the case that involves the man who was an integral player in the province’s justice system for years.

SOUTH AFRICA PROTESTS REFUGEE DECISION

The federal government agreed last week to review a South African’s refugee case after the country objected to the decision in which a white man claimed discrimination from black South Africans.

The case could land at the Federal Court for a formal review, a Citizenship and Immigration department spokeswoman told The Associated Press.

The controversy follows an immigration board panel ruling in the case of Brandon Huntley. He successfully argued that black criminals in South Africa target whites in the country, and that the government turns a blind eye to the alleged mistreatment.

“This decision is incorrect, it is not factual, it does not represent the facts on the ground,” said Anesh Maistry, head of the political section at the South African High Commission in Canada.

“It portrays South Africa in a negative light and it misrepresents the work that has been done in the last 15 years to build a non-racial society in the country.”

Danielle Norris, spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration, says government lawyers are reviewing the decision.

“However, a judicial review by the Federal Court will not hear additional evidence, with respect to the facts, for example, conditions in South

Africa,” she says.

PIONEERING WOMAN JUDGE REMEMBERED

Réjane Laberge-Colas, a Quebec judge who became the first woman appointed to a Canadian superior court, recently died after suffering a stroke. She was 85 years old.

Laberge-Colas founded the Quebec Women’s Federation in 1966.

“She showed us what we needed to know, that it was possible to have children and a career,” Louise Mailhot, a retired Quebec Court of Appeal justice now practising with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, told The Globe and Mail.

“When I was named to the court, only 0.4 per cent of judges were women and she told me, ‘Have confidence in yourself. Don’t pay attention to what others might say.’”

Laberge-Colas received her law degree from the Université of Montréal, where she was joined by just one other female student. She was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 1969.

Laberge-Colas leaves behind her children, Bernard, Hubert, and Francois, five grandchildren, and four siblings.

TRANSPORT LAWYERS HOSTS CONFERENCE

The Canadian Transport Lawyers Association plans to tackle cross-border issues between Canada and the United States in its upcoming annual conference.

The forum brings together all professionals in the transportation industry, and this year focuses on the theme “A Cross-Border Conversation.” A comparative analysis of the laws and legal practices that affect the transportation of people and goods in North America will be presented.

Janice Thomson, the former chairwoman and current commissioner of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and the executive director of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce and Visitor and Convention Bureau, will deliver the keynote address.

Other speakers include well-known Canadian and U.S. transport lawyers and professional consultants, as well as representatives from the transportation industry and government agencies.

The conference is set for Oct. 1 to 3 at Queen's Landing Inn & Conference Resort in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

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