MURDERED WOMAN’S policy
payout sparks court battle .......1
FORMER JUDGE rebuilding
reputation in Kamloops ............1
10 years in penitentiary
IMPAIRED DRIVING cases
leading to stiffer sentences......2
B.C. GOVERNMENT appealing
used truck ruling ...................... 3
QUEBEC PUBLISHER must
defend libel case in Ontario...... 4
SECURITIES LAWSUIT can go
ahead against Canadian Solar.. 5
U.S. BEGINS treating piracy as
unfair trade practice .............. 10
FIRED EXECUTIVE entitled
to bonuses ............................ 11
fishing expeditions ................ 11
ADMISSIBILITY OF extrinsic
evidence ............................... 12
DAVID COOPER / GETSTOCK.COM
The remnants of a van on Finch Avenue W. in Toronto in October 2009, after it was hit by Roman Luskin in his BMW.
CROSSING THE border for
business purposes ................ 14
CANADA RANKED tenth in
corruption index .................... 15
BUSINESS & CAREERS
GRADS STRUGGLE to land
articling jobs........................... 20
A ROAD map for changing
practice areas ........................ 21
Announcements. . . . . . . . . 21
Careers ............... 22
Classified Ads . . . . . . . . . . 19
Names in the News. . . . . . . 4
Weekly Digest.......... 16
Sentences for impaired driving
that result in a fatality are increasing in Canada, yet there still
appears to be a threshold for punishment even in cases with multiple deaths, according to a recent
Ontario Superior Court ruling.
Justice Gary Trotter rejected
the Crown’s submission for a
10-year sentence and imposed
an eight-year term against
“Applying the law conscientiously, it is my view that a sentence of eight years’ imprisonment is appropriate for this
horrific cluster of offences,”
wrote Justice Trotter in R. v.
Luskin 2012 ONSC 1764.
Luskin was sentenced on
March 19 after pleading guilty
to three counts of criminal negligence causing death and two
counts of impaired driving
causing bodily harm. The
23-year-old man was driving
about 180 kilometres an hour
on a busy Toronto street on
October 17, 2009, just prior to
smashing into a minivan with
five occupants. Three of them
were killed and the other two
The blood alcohol level of
Luskin was between .122 and
.157, well over the legal limit of
.08. The defendant, who came
to Canada from Israel with his
family in 2005, had a prior
criminal record, although not
for driving offences.
The sentence requested by
the Crown “is not supported by
the authorities,” said Justice
Trotter. The most similar “
factual matrix” was the decision of
the Ontario Court of Appeal in
R. v. Kummer 2011 ONCA 39.
An eight-year term was also
imposed, for an impaired driver
who killed three people and
injured two others.
“It is also important to appreciate that the sentence upheld in
Kummer reflects the upward
trend in sentences in this area;
it does not foreshadow it. There
is nothing in that case (or in
other recent cases from the
Court of Appeal) to suggest that
sentencing judges should be
extending the range even further,” said Justice Trotter.
The sentence in Luskin “does
not reflect the gravity of this
offence,” suggested Robert Solo-
mon, a law professor at the Uni-
versity of Western Ontario and
director of legal policy for Moth-
ers Against Drunk Driving (Can-
ada). “The conduct was outra-
geous. I don’t know what you
have to do, to be worse than this.”
Still, he said, “there is a grow-
ing realization” in the courts
about the seriousness of impaired
driving, which is why prison
terms are increasing. At the same
time, the sentence in any
impaired proceeding “is the tail
of the dog. The key to deterrence
is not the punishment. It is the
perceived risk of apprehension.”
“Why do people drink and
drive in Canada? It is because
they can do it with little fear of
being caught,” Solomon said. He
called for random breath testing
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Re: “Barriers abound for overseas practice: (The Lawyers
Weekly, April 20, 2012)
Vern Krishna’s article regarding
foreign-trained lawyers raises
important issues about the role of
law societies, and the admission of
new members to the profession.
Canada’s law societies ensure
that legal professionals are
competent to practice wherever
they obtained their legal education. Through the Federation of
Law Societies of Canada, they
have set national competency
requirements for graduates of
Canadian law schools (other
than Quebec civil law programs). These standards apply
equally to internationally edu-
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
cated individuals. Canada’s law
societies are bound by statute to
regulate the legal profession
solely in the public interest, and
not in the financial interest of
members of the profession.
The number of internationally educated lawyers meeting
Canadian competency requirements is increasing. Since April
2011, the Federation has certified almost 700 internationally
educated individuals for application for admission to the legal
profession in Canada (outside
Quebec). This represents about
one-quarter of all new aspiring
As long as the public can be
sure that their legal professionals
have the training and skill to pro-
vide advice and representation in
basic areas of Canadian law, Can-
ada’s borders are wide-open to
anyone competent to practice.
Canada’s law societies won’t
stand in their way.
John J. L. Hunter, Q.C.
of Law Societies of Canada
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