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Monday, February 2, 2015

BEER STORE CHALLENGE ABANDONED

A lawyer’s plan to challenge the Beer Store in court has quickly fizzled out.

“The application has been discontinued in light of an expert opinion on the low chance of success and high cost,” said Toronto lawyer Michael Hassell.

“Fundraising was to occur next, but no one is going to fund the litigation in light of the expert opinion.”

Last month, he put the province on notice that he would be bringing a legal challenge to s. 3(e) of the Liquor Control Act that grants Brewers Retail Inc. monopoly status as the only private company able to sell beer to the public without brewing it. The draft notice called it “an unreasonable restraint of trade, contrary to equitable principles of fairness and contrary to public policy.”

The quick change of heart follows a recent Law Times online poll on the issue. According to the poll, 80 per cent of participants feel it’s time for Ontario to end the Beer Store monopoly.

CRIME RATE LOWEST SINCE 1969

Keeping up with the trend for the last 20 years, the police-reported crime rate in Canada fell even lower in 2013.

According to Statistics Canada, the rate was at its lowest point since 1969 at 5,191 crimes per 100,000 population, a decline from 5,632 per 100,000 population the previous year.

“Experts have not reached a consensus on why crime has been declining since the 1990s, but several factors have been cited as possible explanations,” according to Statistics Canada’s report on crime trends.

“These factors include an aging population, changing policing practices and strategies, the rise of technology, shifts in unemployment, variations in alcohol consumption, neighbourhood characteristics, or changing attitudes towards illegal and risky behaviour.”

Homicide represented less than one per cent of all violent crimes in 2013. In total, there were 505 homicides that year, which was 38 fewer than 2012.

“The homicide rate, due to its consistent and reliable reporting to police, is often used as an indicator of the level of violence in a society,” according to Statistics Canada.

REAL ESTATE LAWYER DISBARRED

The Law Society Tribunal has revoked Toronto real estate lawyer John Paul Abbott’s licence as of Feb. 21.

The hearing panel found that in seven instances, the lawyer had participated in “fraudulent or dishonest conduct” to obtain mortgage funds under false pretences.

He also failed to “serve and perform legal services undertaken on behalf of his lender, purchaser, and vendor clients to the standard of a competent lawyer in the transactions,” according to a summary of the tribunal decision.

In other tribunal news, Law Times reported last week on the Law Society of Upper Canada’s move to suspend Windsor, Ont., lawyer Claudio Martini on an interlocutory basis. While the story noted a delay in the proceedings until April, it didn’t point out that the tribunal had already issued an interim interlocutory suspension on Jan. 5.

BARRY LEON HEADS TO CARIBBEAN COURT

Ottawa arbitration and litigation lawyer Barry Leon is moving to the Caribbean to become a commercial judge of the High Court of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

The court is a Superior Court for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. Leon’s appointment takes effect in March. He’s currently a partner and head of the international arbitration group at Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP. Aaron Rubinoff will now replace Leon in that role.

“The firm is excited for Barry to have been appointed to this prominent international position with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court,” said Rubinoff in a statement.

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