Ronald James Aitkens 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 – What does the phrase “or a more severe punishment” in s. 11(f) of the Charter mean – Does the phrase “or a more severe punishment” in s. 11(f) of the Charter include a combined maximum sentence of: five (5) years less one (1) day imprisonment, a $5,000,000.00 fine, and an automatic six (6) month imprisonment for failure to pay said $5,000,000.00 fine with no right to a default hearing – If yes, what remedy should be granted under s. 24(1) of the Charter.
The applicant faced several charges under the Securities Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. S-4 (the “Act”) which were brought by the Crown on a summary basis before the Provincial Court of Alberta. The applicant brought an application contending that under s. 194 of the Act he could face a more severe punishment than five years of imprisonment, and was therefore entitled to a jury trial pursuant to s. 11(f) of the Charter. He further argued that the Provincial Court of Alberta does not have the jurisdiction to conduct a jury trial and that the matter should be transferred to the Court of Queen’s Bench to determine whether it has inherent jurisdiction to conduct a jury trial over a provincial offence. A judge of the Provincial Court rejected the argument that the applicant was entitled to a jury trial. That decision was confirmed on appeal to the Court of Queen’s Bench and again on appeal to the Court of Appeal of Alberta.
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