It’s been a pretty busy past year for the media outlets and criminal lawyers in North America. While United States criminal lawyers have been busy, so have Canadian criminal lawyers. They are often found working with or against each other on inter-country cases. Here are the 3 most shocking criminal cases in Canada over the past year.
1. Lethal Dosage
An Ontario nurse, Elizabeth Wettlaufer, confessed in a psychiatric hospital that she killed 8 patients and was planning to kill more between 2007 and 2016 by giving them lethal doses of insulin. Media outlets were shocked along with the rest of Canada because of the rarity of serial killers in Canada. Although her criminal defense lawyer tried to argue bail since she pleaded guilty, she was sentence to life in prison and is not eligible for parole until 2042. Legal analyst at CTV News commented on the story saying that she abused her position with individuals that could pass away anyways. That’s why no one questioned their passing. Criminal lawyer Kim Schofield agreed by adding that it is inappropriate that this occur for 9 years. How did no one know?
2. Natural Remedies
This unsettling case surfaced the news when parents, David and Collet Stephan let their toddler die from bacterial meningitis because they only treated him with garlic, horseradish and onion among other “natural” remedies. The father was sentenced to 4 months in prison while the mother got off with 3 months house arrest. Both are being convicted on the grounds of “failing to provide the necessaries of life”. Legal analyst at CTV News commented again saying that it almost as though they intentionally neglected the child which was apparent in their trial as the parents showed no remorse. The Supreme Court of Canada will see them at an unannounced date. This case poses multiple problems for the Supreme Court to answer. Why was their sentence so lenient? Are the necessities of life more important that parents’ Charter-protected beliefs? In the case of life or death, parents should able to put aside their personal beliefs to see a doctor.
3. Terrible JUDGEment
Robin Camp, an Alberta judge presiding a sexual assault case told asked the complainant why she didn’t simply “keep her knees together”. This prompted a spin off trial in which the Judicial Council committee recommended that he be removed for his controversial and not neutral comments. While judges are allowed to comment, bias comments and especially derogatory are inappropriate. The comment encourages sexual assault, implies that it is up to women to defend themselves and strips the accused of responsibility for their actions. Before he could be removed, Camp resigned. Soon after, Rona Ambrose, Conservative Party Leader passed a bill in the House of Commons of Canada to require all lawyers wanting to become a federal judge to pass a sexual assault training.
In past years, there has not been stories such as these that have surfaced in Canada. Canadian criminal lawyers are getting increasingly busy. We can only hope that ethics and values will be adopted in more practices, businesses and unfortunately, homes and families.