April 23, 2007

Date for remedy re Ontario constitutional challenge

UPDATE April 30
June 14 will NOT be the date. Waiting for new date from lawyer.



Lawyers for both sides will be back in front of the judge on June 14, 2007.

When I find out time and location, I will post it here.

The basic decision of the judge, as far as I understand it, is that the following parts of the law are unconstitutional:

  1. The phrase "pit bull includes";
  2. The phrase "pit bull terrier" as a definition of a restricted dog;
  3. The use of only a document from a veterinarian as proof of breed, thus placing onto the defendant the burden of the costs of cross-examination and calling of experts to refute the document.
The full text of the judge's decision is here.

Here is a plain English interpretation of what could happen, courtesy of the Fundamental Freedoms Project:
The Charter is a part of Canada's Constitution, and is included in the Constitution Act, 1982. Section 52(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 gives courts the power to say that a law that violates the Charter is not valid. You can ask a court to make such a declaration. When applying section 52, a court might:
  • strike out the part of the law that violates the Charter
  • interpret a law narrowly so that it fits Charter rights
  • 'read in' features to the law so that it meets Charter requirements
  • declare that you are not covered by the law that violates your Charter rights (a 'constitutional exemption')

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