The McGill Law Journal Podcast (criminal law and sentencing)
All Episodes McGill Law Journal

In this episode, we speak with Mr. Dennis Edney, lawyer for former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr. We discuss the balance between national security and civil liberties, the conception of the rule of law in Canada, and the next steps in Omar Khadr's case.

Direct download: Omar_Khadr_and_the_Erosion_of_the_Rule_of_Law.mp3
Category:Criminal Law and Sentencing -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

It’s been nearly ten years since the Robert Pickton trials. In this largest serial murder case in Canadian history, all the victims were women and a majority of them were Aboriginal. In this episode, we use the case as a springboard to ask: what role should the criminal justice system play in response to violence against Aboriginal women? And where it fails, are other avenues of justice available?

We first interview Professor Elaine Craig (Schulich School of Law) about her recent article in the McGill Law Journal, to hear about the Pickton trials and the limits of the criminal justice system when faced with problems of collective violence. We then speak with Ellen Gabriel, an Indigenous rights advocate, to look at a community’s response to this violence and other ways forward.



While the use of segregation – or what’s more commonly known as solitary confinement – is increasing in Canada, so is opposition to the practice. Indeed, the BC Civil Liberties Association and John Howard Society of Canada have launched a legal challenge to the use of segregation in federal prisons. In this episode we explore Canada’s use of the practice through the lens of the legal challenge. We explain what segregation is, the harm it causes, and what’s being done to change how it’s used in Canada.

We speak with Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator of Canada, Alison Latimer, a lawyer with Farris, Vaughan, Wills, and Murphy and co-counsel on the BCCLA and John Howard Society’s case, and a man who, on the condition of anonymity, shared his personal experience of segregation.


Making the victim surcharge mandatory is the latest Conservative tough-on-crime measure to come under fire in the courts and in the media. The victim surcharge requires that any person sentenced for a crime pay a surcharge in addition to any other sentence they receive - this money is intended to fund victims’ services. In 2013, the government passed a bill that doubled the surcharge and removed the discretion that judges previously had to waive it.

This episode explores the function and purpose of a victim surcharge in criminal law, the rationale behind making it mandatory, and the ways that some judges have resisted it.

We interview Sue O’Sullivan, Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, and Kim Pate, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.