Bail: Minister of Justice ready to amend the Criminal Code

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Bail: Justice Minister ready to change Criminal Code

Minister of Justice David Lametti at the Standing Committee on Justice in Ottawa.

Federal Minister of Justice Justice David Lametti said he will discuss reforming Canada's bail system when he meets with his provincial counterparts on Friday.

Earlier this year, Premiers called on federal authorities to establish a reverse onus system for firearms offenses that would require a person seeking bail to demonstrate why she shouldn't stay behind bars.

Minister Lametti mentioned Monday during a parliamentary committee meeting that he was ready to make changes to the Criminal Code and that he had already discussed this issue with some provincial counterparts. .

“Do we need to add a bit more stiffness to make it harder, in some cases, to push it down? getting bail? We need to consider this question.

—David Lametti, Minister of Justice

Mr. Lametti asserts that bail is a fundamental right and that any law making it more difficult to access is likely to violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

According him, there is a tipping point where the Supreme Court would argue that bail is not accessible enough.

Mr. Lametti also pointed out that there is a risk of introducing laws that restrict access to bail and that fall outside the parameters of the Charter, but changing bail conditions bail for repeat gun offenders is a step that could be taken without violating the Charter.

The Minister of Justice would not say when the Liberal government plans to act, ensuring however that it is a priority.

He expects the provinces to come up with their own suggestions on how to improve bail, he said. Some discussions, including with British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario, have already begun.

Although all provinces have endorsed the call for a reverse onus for gun crimes, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have already said they want to that people who commit violent offenses with knives and with modified pepper spray are also subject to more difficult conditions when applying for bail.

The Federal Conservatives have urged the government to strengthen access to bail for repeat offenders, particularly in cases involving firearms.

The Conservative MP Frank Caputo is pressuring Minister Lametti to support his private member's bill, which would create tougher bail rules for repeat offenders.

At committee, Lametti said he was committed to working with opposition MPs to improve the criminal justice system.

Federal Conservatives and other critics also call on the federal government to strike down a 2019 law that updated provisions of the Criminal Code.

This codified a principle of restraint that had been affirmed in a 2017 Supreme Court case that emphasized the release of detainees at the first reasonable opportunity and under the least onerous conditions, depending on the circumstances. of the case.

Police also gained more power to impose conditions on defendants to reduce the number of court appearances.

It also required that judges take into account the situation of indigenous people or people from vulnerable populations.

Mr. Lametti argued before committee members that the law makes the criminal justice system more efficient and that its benefits need to be felt more slowly.

That's not to say it can't be improved, and that's why we're here now, but fundamentally it's a good bill, and it's made it harder to get the job done. #x27;obtaining bail […], he argued.

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