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Category Archive: Rulings

Judge Finds Legal Loophole In Cellphone and Driving Law

In the midst of Yukon’s crackdown on drivers who use their cellphone while driving, one man has found a legal loophole that could prove to make the territory’s law more difficult to enforce.

Yukon Judge Don Luther found that driving with a cellphone held between your ear and shoulder is perfectly legal. Yukon law allows for hands-free cellphone use, but the law does not define what ‘hands-free’ means. Provinces, like British Columbia and Ontario, specified what that term means in their legislation, and Luther says that Yukon should do the same.

On August 28th Ian Pumphrey got a phone call while driving, and proceeded to pull over, put his phone on speaker and hold it between his ear and shoulder. He then continued on his way. A few minutes later an RCMP officer issued Pumphrey a ticket when he was observed driving with his phone on his shoulder.

Pumphrey challenged the ticket and says that he never broke the law.

“It’s unfortunate, I try to be a law-abiding citizen, and you know the way the law reads you may use a cellular device in hands-free mode, and I mean I was clearly doing that when the officer pulled me over,” Pumphrey said.

Both Pumphrey and Luther hope that people will not take the ruling as an opportunity to drive in an unsafe manner or flout the law.

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Canadian Supreme Court Rules For No Warrant Phone Search

The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled in a 4-3 split decision that police can search suspects’ phones without a warrant after arrest under certain limitations. The justices concluded in the majority opinion that the search must be directly related to the circumstances of a person’s arrest and the police must keep detailed records of the search.

Justice Cromwell said that the court was trying to balance the demands of effective law enforcement with the public’s right to be free of unlawful searches and seizures under Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Cromwell wrote,

“In my view, we can achieve that balance with a rule that permits searches of cellphones incident to arrest, provided that the search – both what is searched and how it is searched – is strictly incidental to the arrest and that the police keep detailed notes of what has been searched and why.”

The ruling set out a criteria for the searches. Searches must be “truly incidental to the arrest” and “based on a valid  law enforcement purpose.” Valid law enforcement was defined as “protecting the police, accused or public.”

Justice Andromache Karakatsanis wrote for the dissenting opinion. They found that police should need a warrant in all cases to search a cell phone.

She wrote, “The intensely personal and uniquely pervasive sphere of privacy in our personal computers requires protection that is clear, practical and effective.”

She also found that the majority opinion set out an “overly complicated template” for police to follow.

“I doubt not that police officers faced with this decision would act in good faith, but I do not think that they are in the best position to determine ‘with great circumspection’ whether the law enforcement objectives clearly outweigh the potentially significant intrusion on privacy in the search of a personal cellphone or computer,” she wrote.

This decision comes after the US Supreme Court ruled in the opposite direction in a unanimous decision when considering a similar case.

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Judge decides to dismiss Lululemon lawsuit

After a particularly rough year for B.C.-born Lululemon Athletica Inc., U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest decided that a lawsuit accusing the company of defrauding shareholders should be dismissed.

When Lululemon customers began noticing their yoga pants were less than opaque, the company was forced to recall the defective products in March 2013, resulting in a loss of $2-billion of market value.

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First Individual Convicted Under Canada’s Foreign Bribery Law

Last fall, Nazir Karigar, a former executive director at CryptoMetrics, was the first person to be tried and convicted under Canada’s foreign bribery law – a case that will be a guidepost for future Canadian corruption sentences.

Karigar was convicted for plotting to distribute $450,000 to Air India and an Indian cabinet minister in an effort to win CrytpoMetrics a contract to create security technology for the state-owned airline.

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