R. v. Peers (J.J.) et al., (2015) 609 A.R. 352

JudgeBerger, Slatter and O'Ferrall, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (Alberta)
Case DateDecember 21, 2015
Citations(2015), 609 A.R. 352;2015 ABCA 407

R. v. Peers (J.J.) (2015), 609 A.R. 352; 656 W.A.C. 352 (CA)

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2015] A.R. TBEd. DE.113

Her Majesty the Queen (respondent/respondent) v. Jeremy James Peers and Robert David Peers (appellants/applicants) and Attorney General of Alberta (intervenor)

(1503-0076-A; 1503-0077A)

Her Majesty the Queen (respondent/respondent) v. Ronald James Aitkens (appellant/applicant) and Attorney General of Alberta (intervenor)

(1503-0197-A; 2015 ABCA 407)

Indexed As: R. v. Peers (J.J.) et al.

Alberta Court of Appeal

Berger, Slatter and O'Ferrall, JJ.A.

December 21, 2015.

Summary:

Section 11(f) of the Charter provided that any person charged with an offence had the right to a jury trial "where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment". The accused were charged with offences under the Securities Act which provided for punishment up to imprisonment for five years less a day and/or a maximum fine of $5 million. A Provincial Court judge ruled that the combined effect of the maximum jeopardy under the Act constituted "a more severe punishment" than five years' imprisonment, giving the accused the right to a jury trial under s. 11(f). The judge transferred the proceedings to the Court of Queen's Bench, effectively terminating the proceedings in the Provincial Court. The Alberta Securities Commission sought judicial review of that decision.

The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, in a judgment reported (2015), 605 A.R. 283, allowed the application and remitted the matter for trial under the Provincial Offences Procedure Act. The judge incorrectly interpreted s. 11(f). Given that the accused faced less than five years' imprisonment, and the Charter was inapplicable to economic rights, the fact that the accused potentially faced an additional monetary penalty did not constitute "a more severe punishment" engaging the right to a jury trial. The judge also erred in transferring the proceedings to the Court of Queen's Bench. In a similar proceeding (R. v. Aitkens (R.J.) (2015), 605 A.R. 100 (Prov. Ct.), affirmed on an unreported appeal in the Queen's Bench) it was likewise held that there was no right to a jury trial. The accused in both matters appealed.

The Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals.

Civil Rights - Topic 1201

Security of the person - General - Economic or property rights - [See Civil Rights - Topic 3138 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 3138

Trials - Due process, fundamental justice and fair hearings - Criminal and quasi-criminal proceedings - Right to jury and jury selection (Charter, s. 11(f)) - Section 11(f) of the Charter provided that any person charged with an offence had the right to a jury trial "where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment" - The accused were charged with offences under the Securities Act which provided for punishment up to imprisonment for five years less a day and/or a maximum fine of $5 million - The Alberta Court of Appeal agreed that the potential of imprisonment one day short of five years plus a fine did not constitute "a more severe punishment" - "More severe" related back to "imprisonment" - Section 11(f) was to be interpreted in its own context, according to its specific purpose - The court stated that "our system of criminal justice does not recognize an equivalency between imprisonment and money, and incarceration in lieu of paying a fine is a method of encouraging payment of the fine, not a penalty for the original offence. ... On a proper purposive interpretation of s. 11(f), in its context, the expression 'imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment' should be interpreted as primarily engaging the deprivation of liberty inherent in the maximum sentence of imprisonment imposed by the statute. ... A maximum penalty of 'five years less a day' does not become a 'more severe punishment' just because some collateral negative consequences are added to it" - See paragraphs 1 to 20.

Statutes - Topic 2422

Interpretation - Interpretation of words and phrases - General principles - "Or" - [See Civil Rights - Topic 3138 ].

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161, refd to. [para. 3].

R. v. Rowbotham (R.) and Roblin (D.), [1994] 2 S.C.R. 463; 168 N.R. 220; 72 O.A.C. 98, refd to. [para. 6].

R. v. Jackpine (R.), [2006] 1 S.C.R. 544; 347 N.R. 201; 210 O.A.C. 200; 2006 SCC 15, refd to. [para. 8].

R. v. Rodgers (D.) - see R. v. Jackpine (R.).

R. v. Silveira (A.), [1995] 2 S.C.R. 297; 181 N.R. 161; 81 O.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 9].

Guindon v. Minister of National Revenue (2015), 473 N.R. 120; 2015 SCC 41, refd to. [para. 14].

R. v. Bondy, 2013 ONCJ 268, refd to. [para. 16].

R. v. Gibbs, 2001 BCPC 361, refd to. [para. 16].

R. v. Cohn (1984), 4 O.A.C. 293; 48 O.R.(2d) 65; 15 C.C.C.(3d) 150; 13 D.L.R.(4th) 680 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 19].

R. v. Taillefer (B.), [2003] 3 S.C.R. 307; 313 N.R. 1; 2003 SCC 70, refd to. [para. 22].

Doucet-Boudreau et al. v. Nova Scotia (Minister of Education) et al., [2003] 3 S.C.R. 3; 312 N.R. 1; 218 N.S.R.(2d) 311; 687 A.P.R. 311; 2003 SCC 62, refd to. [para. 22].

Counsel:

D.A. Young and R.J.C. Stack, for the respondent;

N.J. Whitling, S.J. Fix and A.S. Millman, for the appellant, Jeremy James Peers;

G.L. Wolch, for the appellant, Robert David Peers;

B.M. Miller and J.D. Sutherland, for the appellant, Ronald James Aitkens;

R.J. Normey, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Alberta.

These appeals were heard on November 6, 2015, before Berger, Slatter and O'Ferrall, JJ.A., of the Alberta Court of Appeal.

On December 21, 2015, the judgment of the court was delivered and the following memorandums of judgment were filed:

Berger and Slatter, JJ.A. - see paragraphs 1 to 20;

O'Ferrall, J.A. - see paragraphs 21 to 23.

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    • Canada
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    • June 22, 2019
    ...6, 195, 268 R v Peepeetch, 2003 SKCA 76 ............................................................................ 289 R v Peers, 2015 ABCA 407, aff’d 2017 SCC 13 ....................................................... 5 R v Penno, [1990] 2 SCR 865, 59 CCC (3d) 344, [1990] SCJ No 96 ...........
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    ...2 WWR 331 (Sask Dist Ct) ................................................................................................. 65 R v Peers, 2015 ABCA 407 ...................................................................................514 R v Peers, 2017 SCC 13, [2017] 1 SCR 196 ..................
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    • Irwin Books Fundamental Justice: Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Second Edition
    • June 22, 2019
    ...above note 3 at 538 and 575. Justice Lamer did not, of course, hold that ss 8 through 14 exhausted the content of s 7. 13 R v Peers , 2015 ABCA 407 at para 7, aff’d 2017 SCC 13. FUNDAMENTAL JUSTICE 6 has expressed a preference for resolving the issues under sections 8 through 14 rather than......
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