R v HXF 2020 – Ontario Superior Court
HXF was one of several men charged and tried for first-degree murder in 2016. After more than two months of evidence, in January of 2020, Doug argued that the case against his client was so frail that it should not be left to the Jury to determine his client’s guilt. The trial judge agreed and dismissed the charge against Doug’s client, while the remaining co-accused were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
R v BM (2014) Ontario Superior Court of Justice
BM was charged with second-degree murder of a young man in eastern Ontario. After the victim had attacked a number of women, he was beset upon by a group of people, beaten and eventually stabbed several times, causing his death. A number of eyewitnesses testified that BM stabbed the victim. Through cross-examination, Doug was able to show that most of the eyewitnesses were not credible or reliable. Doug was able to establish, through the use or social media, that a key eye witness actually planned to testify falsely against BM. While BM was found guilty of assaulting the victim, he was found not guilty of second-degree murder.
R. v. WA (2007) Ontario Superior Court of Justice
WA was charged with first-degree murder arising from a 2004 shooting in Scarborough. The Crown sought to adduce expert opinion evidence of a sociologist on the meaning of the accused’s teardrop tattoo. If the evidence was admitted, the Crown would argue before the jury that the teardrop tattoo was tantamount to a confession to the murder. Doug successfully argued that the opinion evidence was not reliable and should not be admitted. The trial judge agreed and excluded the evidence. The Jury found WA was not guilty of first-degree murder.
This case was subsequently appealed by the Crown to the Ontario Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal found that the trial judge made an error in excluding the opinion of the sociologist. A second trial was held and WA was found guilty. Eventually, fresh evidence was put before the Court of Appeal respecting the reliability of the sociologist’s opinion. The Court of Appeal directed a third trial be conducted and the case was then resolved.
R v MLH (2003) Ontario Superior Court of Justice
MLH was charged with second-degree murder. The evidence suggested that MLH stabbed her partner while he slept. At the trial, Doug was able to show that MLH had a lengthy history of mental illness and that, at the time of the incident, she had been off her medication. MLH was found not criminally responsible.
Assault / Assault causing bodily harm
R. v. AN (2013) Ontario Court of Justice
AN was charged with assault causing bodily harm. He was accused of attacking the victim outside a nightclub. Four police officers testified that they witnessed AN kick or stomp the victim in the head. AN was arrested within one minute of the attack. Doug was able to, through his cross-examination of the officers, establish serious inconsistencies in all of their evidence and that the officers had collaborated in the recording of their observations of the events. As a result, the trial judge had a reasonable doubt as to AN’s involvement and he was found not guilty.
R. v. NM (2011) Ontario Court of Justice
NM was charged with assault causing bodily harm, possession of a dangerous weapon and assault with a weapon. The charges resulted from an incident that occurred outside a bar where the victim suffered serious stab wounds. Doug was able to establish that the Crown’s main witness was unreliable, and as a result, the Judge found that the evidence did not establish that NM stabbed the victim and he was found not guilty.
R v ES (2000) Ontario Court of Justice
ES was charged with assaulting his son with a weapon. It was alleged that a neighbour observed ES striking his son with a metal bar in front of the family home. Through cross-examination, Doug was able to establish that ES did not strike his son with any weapon. Further, it was accepted by the trial judge that any force that was used by ES was corrective and reasonable and necessary in the circumstances in disciplining his child.
R v AB (1998) Ontario Court Of Justice
AB was charged with aggravated assault. AB was a security guard at a large hospital. AB confronted an intruder who was observed entering into patients’ rooms. AB struck the attacker, causing him to fall and hit his head, suffering a significant head injury. Through cross-examination, Doug was able to establish that the victim actually attacked AB and that AB acted in self-defence and used reasonable force in defending himself and AB was found not guilty.
Firearms / Weapons
R v KBT (2007) Ontario Court of Justice
KBT was stopped by police in a traffic stop in North York. The car he was driving was searched and a loaded gun was found under the passenger seat. KBT was charged with a number of firearms offences, some of which included significant minimum jail sentences. Through cross-examination, Doug was able to establish that officers undertook no investigation as to who owned the car and who may have handled the gun and placed it under the seat. The trial judge concluded that he had a reasonable doubt that KBT knew the gun was in the car and he was found not guilty of all charges.
R v HAS (2007) Ontario Court of Justice
HAS was a retail store specializing in the sale of army surplus items. HAS also sold various exotic knives and folding knives. Police searched the store, seizing several hundred items, alleging the items were prohibited weapons. Indeed, some of the exotic knives were prohibited and forfeited. Additionally, some of the folding knives, due to manufacturing defects, were prohibited. However, at the property forfeiture hearing, Doug was able to establish that many of the knives were not prohibited weapons and were ordered to be returned to the retailer. Of special note was the finding that the Kershaw folding knife, which utilized “speed safe assisted opening” technology was not a switchblade and was a lawful knife.
R v GXY (2017) Ontario Court of Justice
GXY was charged by Durham Police with production of marihuana and theft of electricity. Police alleged that GXY was operating a large-scale residential marihuana grow-op. Doug successfully argued that there was an excessive delay from the date of GXY’s arrest to his eventual trial, violating GXY’s Charter right to a trial within a reasonable time, and the charges against GXY were stayed.
R. v. THN 2016 Ontario Court of Justice
THN was charged with production of marihuana and possession of marihuana for the purpose of trafficking. Doug successfully argued that a delay of over 22 months from the date of THN’s arrest to his eventual trial was excessive, violating THN’s Charter right to a trial within a reasonable time, and the charges against THN were stayed.
R. v. ZZY (2015) Ontario Superior Court of Justice
ZZY was charged with production of marihuana. ZZY was in a residence in Windsor when police entered, searched and ultimately located 1,000’s of marihuana plants. Police entered without a search warrant claiming it was necessary in order to prevent the destruction of evidence. Doug successfully argued that police violated ZZY’s Charter right to be secure against unreasonable search. The evidence was excluded and ZZY was found not guilty.
R. v. KM (2015) Ontario Court of Justice
KM and her husband were charged with production of marihuana. Police alleged they had a marihuana grow-op in their home. There were numerous and significant delays in getting the case set down for trial as a result of untimely disclosure by the Crown. Doug brought an application to have the charges stayed due to the unreasonable delay. On the eve of the trial, the Crown simply withdrew the charges against KM and her husband.
R v LM (2015) Ontario Superior Court of Justice
LM was charged with trafficking cocaine. LM was the subject of police surveillance and a police wiretap. Officers testified that LM was observed on a number of occasions trafficking cocaine. Wiretap recordings were alleged to confirm the officers’ belief. Doug was able to establish there were significant credibility and reliability issues with the police officers’ evidence. The Jury found LM not guilty of all charges.
R v ASB (2013) Ontario Court of Justice
ASB was charged with trafficking cocaine. It was alleged that ASB had agreed to sell an undercover police officer a kilo of cocaine. The undercover officer testified she met with ASB, was shown the kilo, received a sample, and a price was agreed upon. ASB was later arrested and charged with trafficking cocaine. Through cross-examination, Doug established that officers could not be sure that ASB was the same person that had previously met with the undercover officer. The trial judge had a reasonable doubt as to the identity of the person that met the officer and ASB was found not guilty.
R v AY (2011) Ontario Court of Justice
AY was charged with possession of marihuana for the purpose of trafficking. He was stopped for speeding in the Cornwall area on Highway 401. The police officer searched AY’s car and located a significant amount of marihuana. Doug successfully argued the officer lacked the requisite grounds to search the car and the evidence was excluded from the trial, resulting in AY being acquitted.
R. v. HCC (2006) Ontario Superior Court of Justice
HCC was charged with production of marihuana for his alleged role in the growing of more than 15,000 marihuana plants in the Kingston area. Apart from his presence at or near the property, a key piece of evidence was a document which police claimed was found in HCC’s car. This document was a rental agreement for a farm tractor that was obviously being used in the production process. This document, the Crown was alleging, proved that HCC was clearly involved in the crime.
Through cross-examination, Doug was able to establish that this document was actually found by police in another car on another day. It was either intentionally planted by officers in HCC’s car in an attempt to link HCC to the crime, or it was simply an “honest mistake” as the judge was prepared to accept. Either way, the judge could not be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that HCC was involved and he was found not guilty of all charges.
R. v. VN (2006) Ontario Court of Justice
VN was present in a residence being used as a large-scale marihuana grow op when police entered under the authority of a search warrant. At the preliminary hearing, Doug argued that there was insufficient evidence to allow for his client to be committed to stand trial. The preliminary inquiry judge agreed that there was a clear absence of evidence linking VN to the residence, other than his mere presence when the search warrant was conducted. The judge found there was insufficient evidence establishing that VN had knowledge and control of the marihuana and he was discharged.
R v CL (2002) Ontario Superior Court of Justice
CL was charged with trafficking cocaine. It was alleged that police called CL on a telephone number obtained from an informant. In the call, police set up a meeting to purchase cocaine. Other than the phone number, police received no information from the informant about the person they were calling. Officers arrested CL immediately when he arrived at the meeting location. CL was searched and a quantity of cocaine was seized. Doug successfully argued that officers did not have reasonable grounds to arrest CL simply because he was in the vicinity where the drug deal was to occur. As a result, the evidence was excluded and CL was found not guilty.
R v WM (1998) Ontario Superior Court of Justice
WM was one of several persons charged with conspiracy for his alleged role in the importation, possession and trafficking of cocaine. The cocaine had been chemically infused into fibreglass that was then concealed in a shipment of executive-style office chairs that were shipped to Canada from Peru by way of Costa Rica. It was alleged that WM was the “chemist” that would separate the cocaine from the fibreglass, thus enabling its sale in Canada. At the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry, WM was committed to stand trial only for possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. Doug then successfully appealed this ruling, and WM’s committal to stand trial was quashed and he was discharged.
R v GS (2015) Ontario Court of Justice
GS operated a commercial warehouse and freight cross-docking service. It was alleged that GS was in possession of a significant amount of stolen property in his warehouse facility and he was charged with possession of stolen property. Through the use of police dispatch recordings and logs, Doug was able to establish that officers actually broke into GS’ warehouse prior to obtaining a search warrant and that certain officers misled the court in their evidence surrounding their search of the warehouse. As a result, the evidence was excluded and GS was found not guilty.
R. v. HTN  Ontario Court of Justice
HTN was charged with a number of criminal offences as a result of her being found in possession of a large amount of cash. HTN was arrested after attempting to board a domestic flight from Toronto to Vancouver. A search of HTN’s carry-on revealed she was in possession of $323,650.00 in cash. A police officer testified that, in his “opinion”, the cash was derived from drug trafficking.
Through cross-examination, Doug established that the officer had failed to properly investigate any possible innocent sources of the cash. Doug also established that the officer’s opinion that HTN was a drug courier was partially based on an erroneous and mistaken belief of the circumstances of HTN’s arrest. Finally, Doug established that the officer tailored his opinion and his evidence to fit the Crown's theory while ignoring other possibilities. The trial judge found that HTN’s possession of the cash was highly suspicious but he was left with a reasonable doubt that she was involved in the drug trade and she was found not guilty.
Some of Doug’s Notable Sentencing Decisions
R. v. S.P. (2016) Ontario Court of Justice
S.P. was charged with production of marihuana. Doug successfully brought an application for a ruling that the minimum jail sentence provisions contained in the sentencing regime for marihuana production were unconstitutional.
R. v. CZS (2014) Ontario Superior Court of Justice
CZS was involved in the operation of large residential marihuana grow op which used a hydro by-pass to steal electricity in Windsor, Ontario. CZS plead guilty to production of marihuana and theft of electricity. The Crown sought a three-year penitentiary sentence. Doug successfully argued that the appropriate sentence was a two-year conditional sentence allowing CZS to serve his sentence in the community under house arrest.
R. v. CYC (2013) Ontario Superior Court of Justice
CYC was arrested and charged with possession of a number of controlled substances for the purpose of trafficking, including 1.7 kilos of MDMA (ecstasy), a large amount of ketamine and marihuana. After trial, the Crown sought a penitentiary sentence of 4 and ½ years. Doug successfully argued that CYC should be allowed to serve a two-year sentence in the community under house arrest.
R. v. Q.A. (2007) Ontario Court of Justice
QA pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. QA assaulted a youth with a baseball bat, mistakenly believing that the youth was one of several persons that had previously attacked QA’s younger brother. QA struck the youth in the head with the bat, causing serious injuries including a fractured skull and a facial fracture.
The Crown sought a jail sentence of two years less one day. Doug successfully argued that a conditional sentence was appropriate, allowing QA to serve his sentence in the community under what amounted to house arrest conditions
R. v. JB (2004) Ontario Superior Court of Justice
JB plead guilty to aggravated assault. JB and his brother were beset upon by a group of persons outside a bar. JB was seen going to his car and retrieving a utility knife and then attacked the victim with the knife, causing significant and lasting injuries.
The Crown sought a sentence of three years in the penitentiary. Doug successfully argued that a two year conditional sentence was appropriate, allowing JB to serve his sentence in the community under house arrest conditions.