Ontario Civil

Constitutional Law

Charter of Rights
Application that name “Domestic Violence Court” be deemed invalid dismissed

Applicant was charged with assaulting his son based on allegation made by boy’s mother. One of conditions of applicant’s bail was that applicant not attend mother’s house. Applicant attended house and was charged with breach of recognizance and obstructing police. Breach charges were assigned to Domestic Violence Court, where applicant attended for several pre-trial appearances. Prosecuting Crown realized that matter had been assigned to Domestic Violence Court in error because assault had not been against mother. Charges were transferred to regular Criminal Court in Ontario Court of Justice where applicant was tried and acquitted. Applicant alleged name of court violated his constitutional rights under ss. 7, 12, and 15 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Application for declaration that name “Domestic Violence Court” be deemed invalid and for order that name be changed to “Domestic Court” was dismissed. Trial judge found there was no evidence before court that applicant had personally suffered stigma sufficient to engage his s. 7 security of person interest Trial judge found notwithstanding his claims of stigmatization and prejudice, applicant had positive experience with Children’s Aid Society during time matter was before Domestic Violence Court. Trial judge found applicant was able to fully defend himself, without being prejudiced by his appearances in Domestic Violence Court. Trial judge found no deprivation of fundamental justice. Trial judge found name of court was rationally connected to valid government purpose and scope. Applicant appealed. Appeal dismissed. Trial judge properly applied test. Application risked trivializing important Charter rights.

Foessl v. Ontario (Attorney General) (Apr. 22, 2016, Ont. C.A., Alexandra Hoy A.C.J.O., R.A. Blair J.A., and L.B. Roberts J.A., CA C60986) Decision at 257 A.C.W.S. (3d) 99 was affirmed. 265 A.C.W.S. (3d) 901.

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