Monday, April 6, 2015

The province has named Justice Lise Maisonneuve as Ontario Court of Justice Chief Justice Annemarie Bonkalo’s replacement next month.

Maisonneuve will take over the role on May 4 after Bonkalo’s eight-year terms ends the day before. Maisonneuve has presided over criminal matters in the Ottawa area for 12 years, rising to the role of regional senior justice for the east region in 2011 and then associate chief justice of the court in 2013. Before joining the court, she practised criminal law at Ottawa law firm Carroll Wallace and Maisonneuve.

A Superior Court judge has ordered a $30,000 cost award against a self-represented litigant who claimed she had given birth to her daughter after an immaculate conception — “only the second one in history” — and tried to file a letter from the Queen as an exhibit.

Angela De Cruz Lee had gone to court with allegations of fraud and conspiracy against banks and lawyers. Later, she accused her ex-husband of human trafficking.
“I had prosecuted human trafficking before my call to the bench. Ms. De Cruz Lee had Googled me and discovered this,” wrote Superior Court Justice Antonio Skarica in De Cruz Lee v. Lee.

Skarica described De Cruz Lee as an abusive spouse to her ex-husband, who had sponsored her to Canada, put her in school, bought her a house, and paid all of their bills.
“Mr. Lee’s reward for his part in this so-called marriage was to be abused and used. He took it; he was submissive and weak,” wrote Skarica.

In a ruling that showed his frustration following a nine-day trial, Skarica said his cost award against De Cruz Lee was “essentially meaningless.”

“Ms. De Cruz Lee is on a disability pension. Despite having a university education from twenty years ago, she has never held a job and has never earned an income. She has no assets and no prospects. She is judgment proof and there is no real possibility of that changing unless she wins the lottery,” he wrote, calling her submissions in the case “scandalous and outrageous” and ordering her to pay full-indemnity costs.

The Canadian Bar Association says bill C-32, the victims bill of rights act, needs to include recognition of victims as key witnesses and not “as added parties to the criminal justice system.”

In a second appearance before a parliamentary committee, the CBA called the bill an important step for victims of crime but urged the government to revise it further.

The CBA said it would like to see a framework for victims’ rights during the criminal justice process as well as a national guideline on the treatment of them.

The association also says the act should include an outline of governments’ responsibility to victims, “including measures of practical importance to victims.”

Kathryn Pentz of the CBA’s criminal justice section presented the association’s submission to a Senate committee on April 1.

The federal government appointed three new judges to the bench in Ontario last week.

The government named Ottawa lawyer Mark Shelston to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s family court branch to replace Justice Kenneth Pedlar of Brockville, Ont., after he became a supernumerary judge last November. The government transferred Pedlar’s vacancy to Ottawa.

Paul Howard of Windsor, Ont., also joins the Superior Court of Justice, replacing Justice Terrence Patterson, who elected to become a supernumerary judge in May 2014.

In addition, former Ontario Bar Association president Paul Sweeny will be sitting in Welland, Ont., replacing justice Anne Tucker, who resigned effective Jan. 16.

Sweeny practised with Evans Sweeny Bordin LLP in Hamilton, Ont., with a focus on corporate, commercial, and personal injury law as well as civil litigation.

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

According to the poll, the majority of respondents disagree with the federal government’s ban on the niqab at citizenship ceremonies.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents said the ban is unfair and the government has more important issues to deal with. The remaining participants, however, agreed with the government and said it should press ahead with its appeal of a Federal Court ruling that found the ban illegal.

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