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Scheer’s claim about penalties for violent gang crime ‘extremely misleading,’ says lawyer

During a campaign stop in Toronto to announce the Conservatives’ plans to curb gun violence, Scheer tried to paint Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau as soft on crime.

Though he never mentioned it by name, Scheer alluded to a host of justice system reforms outlined in Bill C-75, sweeping omnibus legislation introduced and passed by Trudeau’s government.

The bill included changes to Canada’s bail regime, jury selection and sentencing, among others.


Here’s where Bill C-75 comes into the picture. The bill transformed many formerly indictable offences into hybrid offences — including participation in a criminal organization.

The change was motivated partly by the fact that the term “criminal organization” is broadly defined in law. Such an organization must have at least three members, and one of its purposes must be to carry out criminal activities.

The definition has been further refined by case law over time, but there’s considerable room for interpretation, said Michael Spratt, a criminal lawyer at the Ottawa firm Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP.

“We could be looking at the Hells Angels, which is a very serious group, or we could be looking at a group of friends who agreed to a ‘criminal enterprise’ together to steal from a convenience store,” he said.


Spratt agreed, calling it an “outright lie” to claim the bill lets gang members convicted of violent crimes off the hook with a fine.


Read Lucas Powers’s full article: CBC

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