Ontario Criminal Lawyers' Legal Aid Boycott Expands
An Ontario Legal Aid boycott by criminal lawyers has now expanded to reach Kingston and Thunder Bay, reports the Law Times. The Criminal Lawyers Association (CLA) is organizing quickly to effect change to a legal aid program that it argues has been “broken for over 20 years.”
“A lot of the work we’re doing for free. The Crown’s office and the judges are being compensated handsomely for the system to run, and we haven’t been compensated in the last 20 years adequately at all” stated Gil Labine, the Thunder Bay CLA’s Regional Director.
CLA President Frank Addario recently met with Attorney General Chris Bentley to discuss the association’s agenda. Mr. Bentley "was not able to commit at this time to the improvements that are critical to ensuring a sustainable and equitable legal aid system,” said Mr. Addario. Currently, Ontario's maximum legal aid rate is $98.00 per hour, which many lawyers feel fails to address their high overhead costs.
The Globe & Mail reports that over fifty Law professors have added their support to the boycott as has the Law Society of Upper Canada, which released the following statement directed towards the Attorney General:
“We believe that access to justice is not an abstract notion, but a constant public policy challenge that requires adequate public funding.”
(Image courtesy of http://www.cartoonstock.com/)
Is it Time to Update Your Passport Photo?
The Toronto Star reported July 1st that a Toronto woman was jailed, fined and detained in Kenya for “no longer looking like her passport photo.”
Suaad Mohamud Haji, 31, stated that she “has lost weight, changed her glasses and maybe looks a bit darker-skinned since the photo was taken more than four years ago.” She was held in jail for 8 days, required to post bail of $2,500.00 (U.S.) and has been waiting for 2 months to hear back about a hearing that could lead to further jail time.
The single mother of a twelve-year-old son flew to Kenya to visit her sick mother and upon her May 17th return flight, was detained. Ms. Haji stated in the article that she leaves messages for the Canadian High Commission every day and “nobody returns her calls.”
The Toronto resident faces a Court hearing July 21 and fears being sent back to jail if Canada will not vouch for her.