Paralegal SCOPE Magazine contributor Tracey Gauley, paralegal, reviews Handling Provincial Offence Cases in Ontario 2012, by John Pearson Allen and Hon. Justice Rick Libman.
The Provincial Offences Act (POA) helps to keep residents and visitors to Ontario safe and healthy.
Enforcement of its provisions allows us to live our daily lives secure in the knowledge that the transportation we take, the doctors we visit, the grocers and restaurants that provide our food — to name a few sectors — are all regulated for our well-being.
POA presents a vast, diverse, broad field; a case can send a licensee scrambling to untangle its nuances. Where to turn for clear guidance? Handling Provincial Offence Cases in Ontario 2012 is a quick-reference, plain-English, practical guide, written by subject experts, leading licensees to the correct information with little effort.
Handling Provincial Offence Cases paves an uncomplicated path to understanding how to handle a POA case. It is useful for licensees, prosecutors, students and judges alike.
Concise and Useful Information
The expertise of the two authors is evident. Professors Allen and Libman richly support the text with current case law, covering each step — from Notice through to Appeal. The text defines regulatory offences, clarifies responsibilities of the parties, and outlines different procedural streams that determine how offences are prosecuted. The early chapters dissect the Act, explaining courtroom culture and how a POA matter flows.
Chapters are divided into sections and subsections. The index and a quick-reference tool are handy; these allow readers to pinpoint necessary information, down to the paragraph.
Soft-covered and portable, with reader-friendly font sizes and effective design details, the book encourages ready comprehension. The step-by-step trial and sentencing process sections are bolstered by appendixes that save time.
The current edition includes a new section on “Electronic Documents and Remote Meetings” (Appendix A1). This allows readers to stay current with updated Ontario Regulations. The same applies to the “Forms” sections (Appendix A1 and C). These are valuable in directing readers to correct forms for specific purposes. Forms flow sequentially, from Form 8, “Notice of Intention to Appear,” to “Preparation for Trial” forms, “Sentencing” forms, and forms related to “Appeals.”
Regulations and Checklists
Appendix B, “Regulations Under the Courts of Justice Act,” provides short answers to basic questions, such as computation of time and how the regulations define “holidays.” Another time-saver is Appendix D, which lists all POA courts in Ontario.
The “Checklists” chapter functions as a “launch pad” or starting point on how to defend a POA charge. It guides the reader to key areas, including the client’s account of facts, examples of defences and strategies, evidentiary issues, and Charter issues. It includes defences that hinge on whether an offence is one of strict or absolute liability.
Chapters 10 and 11 are comprehensive explanations of case progression, including first appearance, witnesses, adjournments, entering pleas, rules on appearing or not appearing in court, included offences, publication bans, evidence, Charter issues, trial strategies, and advice for effective persuasion. Sentences, probation, fines and costs are also covered, and are supported with case law.
Chapter 12 provides meticulous detail on Appeals. It answers issues related to Parts I, II and III offences, including case law, case summaries and tips for mounting an appeal.
I highly recommend Handling Provincial Offence Cases in Ontario 2012. It has become a “staple” in my library.
Handling Provincial Offence Cases in Ontario 2013, by John Pearson Allen and Hon. Justice Rick Libman, is now available from Carswell.
A version of this article previously appeared in RegQuest, the Regulatory Affairs and Compliance publication.
Read Tracey Gauley’s review of Portable Guide to Witnesses, Second Edition.