Friday, February 19, 2016

Minister's power of appeal at issue before Supreme Court of Canada

As reported in a Global Military Justice Reform post dated January 18, 2016 the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada (CMAC) in R. c. Gagnon CMAC 577 and CMAC 581 struck down the power of the Minister of National Defence pursuant to Section 230.1 of the National Defence Act (NDA) Section 230.1 of the National Defence Act (Act) to launch appeals to the CMAC of acquittals, stays and sentences.

In R v. Gagnon, the CMAC ruled that, at every step of the judicial process, section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) guarantees an accused the constitutional right to an independent prosecutor. it concluded that section 230.1 of the Act violates section 7 of the Charter and is not a reasonable limit to that section which can be justified in a free and democratic society.

The three judges deciding Gagnon suspended their constitutional declaration of invalidity for six [6] months (that is until June 2016) .

Pursuant to Section 245 of the NDA on February 9, 2016 the Minister of National Defence has appealed the CMAC decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

See: Sa Majesté la Reine et al. c. J.G.A. Gagnon et al. - Case 35844

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