Jeremy James Peers v. Her Majesty the Queen (Alberta Securities Commission)

(Alberta) (Civil) (By Leave)


Criminal law - Right to trial by jury (s. 11(f)).


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Charter of Rights – Right to trial by jury – Are the words “punishment” and “more severe punishment” in s. 11(f) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms restricted to imprisonment or to other punishments which engage the accused’s liberty interests, or do these words encompass other types of “punishment”, such as heavy fines – If the prosecutions commenced under s. 194(1) of the Securities Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. S-4 and similar Canadian legislation give rise to a right to trial by jury, what is the appropriate constitutional remedy for an accused in the applicant’s circumstances.

Jeremy Peers was charged with thirty-three offences under s. 194 of the Securities Act, including unregistered trading in securities, non-compliance with prospectus disclosure obligations, misrepresentation, and fraudulent use of investor funds. Robert Peers faced one count of investor fraud. Section 194 provides that a person who is found guilty of an offence can be held liable to a fine of not more than $5 000 000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 5 years less a day, or to both. Summary proceedings were commenced by way of Information brought in the Provincial Court of Alberta and Jeremy Peers sought a determination that s. 11(f) of the Charter was engaged. He asked the court to quash the Information or stay the proceedings. A provincial court judge held that the applicant was entitled to trial by a jury and transferred the proceeding to the Court of Queen’s Bench. That Court allowed the appeal and transferred the matter back to the Provincial Court.