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COVID-19 Law

. R. v. Kazman

In R. v. Kazman (Ont CA, 2020) the Court of Appeal granted bail pending the outcome of a leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, largely on grounds that the appellant faced risk from COVID-19 if incarcerated:
[15] With regard to the reviewability interest, I cannot say any more than the merits, while not frivolous, are weak. As the applicant submits, the SCC has granted leave in cases involving the interpretation and clarification of R. v. Jordan, 2016 SCC 27, [2016] 1 S.C.R. 631. However, it is not at all clear that the SCC is likely to grant leave here.

[16] That said, the particular circumstances of this case justify release. The applicant’s crimes were serious but not violent. These offences were the first offences with which he has been convicted. There are no lingering public safety or flight risk concerns that weigh in favour of immediate enforceability.

[17] Further, the applicant’s health conditions, which were well documented in the record before the court, as well as his age, place him within a vulnerable group that is more likely to suffer complications and require hospitalization if he contracts COVID-19. It is necessary for him to practice social distancing to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19. Being in jail will make it difficult, if not impossible, to practice such social distancing.

[18] As the public health authorities have emphasized at this time, the need for social distancing is not only a question of protecting a given individual but also the community at large. In the prison context, a COVID-19 outbreak may turn into wider community spread as prison staff return home. As we are repeatedly hearing during this pandemic, the wider the spread, the greater the pressure will be for scarce medical resources.

[19] For these reasons, and in light of all of these factors together, the applicant’s release for a limited period would not undermine a reasonable and informed person’s confidence in the administration of justice.

[20] I emphasize that this does not mean that bail will be granted in any case where COVID-19 is raised as an issue. In R. v. Morgan (31 March 2020), Toronto, M51470 (C67536) (Ont. C.A.), bail pending appeal was denied due to the applicant’s risk of reoffending and the inadequacy of his sureties to supervise against further offending.

[21] However, the particular circumstances of this case justify release. Given the applicant’s health issues amidst the COVID-19 situation, and the limited bail period sought, I am persuaded that the applicant’s detention is not necessary is in the public interest.
. Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 476 v. Wong

In Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 476 v. Wong (Ont CA, 2020) the Court of Appeal addressed how, in light of the COVID crisis and a suspension on in-person hearings, the appeal should be heard:
[1] The appeal in this matter is scheduled to be heard on April 9, 2020. Since oral in-person appeal hearings were suspended for the week of April 6, 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 health crisis, the parties were canvassed as to whether they would agree to having the appeal heard without an in-person hearing, or to have the matter adjourned to a date in September or early October. The parties could not agree. The appellant seeks an adjournment until September or early October. The respondent requests that the appeal proceed in writing, with an opportunity for the parties to respond to panel questions either by teleconference or videoconference on April 9, 2020.

[2] I conducted a teleconference hearing on April 2, 2020, to rule on the appellant’s adjournment request and to decide how the appeal would proceed. It is in the interests of justice to have the appeal proceed in writing based on the materials filed. The parties will have an opportunity to respond, by teleconference, to any questions the panel may have, on the date set for the appeal, April 9, 2020.

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