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Forensic Criminal History Montreal 1940s


AAB

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AAB
  • Paralegal Student

Hello.  My areas are usually civil and constitutional.  However, I'm also a translator, and have become fascinated with an old criminal case from 1940 at the Court of Sessions of the Peace in Montreal.  The case file is gone; but I have collected a ton of press clippings in French and English with specific references to the events, and I'm hoping for help in finding the answers to some questions. 

The case is a Preliminary hearing that was aborted after three false starts.  It never went to trial; but not because the judge found the evidence insufficient.  The Crown had been submitting exhibits unrelated to the charges.  The judge suddenly decided to act on those exhibits, and refer the exhibits to the Provincial government on matters not involved in the charges that had been laid. 

The Quebec government then handed the accused to the federal level for internment. 

So there was never any ruling as to whether the accused should be subject to a hearing on the actual charges laid. 

I'm hoping to put bits and pieces together to get a fuller picture of the procedural matters, whether they were in line or out of bounds of the law.

1 - Can a judge of the Court of Sessions in 1940 act proprio motu on matters unrelated to the specific charges and for which no charges have been laid?

2 - Can a judge of the Court of Sessions in 1940 who accepts a Crown argument that he has the power to postpone the preliminary hearing, then allow a different judge to resume at the date of postponement, or is the first judge the actual presiding judge bound to continue in the file?

3 - Can the accused, charged under the Defense of Canada Regulations (DOCR) annexed to the War Measures Act, be deprived of access to their lawyers?  There were about a dozen accused in this file, they spent from approx. 30 May 1940 to 21 June 1940 incarcerated in Bordeaux Jail without access to their lawyers, each other, or their families.

4 - Can a judge of the Court of Sessions of the Peace in 1940 spontaneously come up with something for which the accused have not been charged and take action on it, or would a judge have to wait for the Crown to take action on it before weighing in?

5 - In 1949, a few years after WWII, some of the accused filed suit in an attempt to resume the aborted hearing that had been continued "sine die".  The chief justice to whom their procedure was addressed (it seems to have been a petition), said he had no power to resume the preliminary hearing; also, the judge who had aborted the preliminary hearing had died and in such a case, a hearing DE NOVO would have to be held.  However, the chief justice also noted that during the men's internment, their photos and fingerprints had been destroyed; and he said that he considered them discharged from the charges, so that there could be no hearing. Nonetheless, it seems that this chief justice, who had been the first judge in the accused's file in 1940, had acted as presiding judge by using a power to postpone the hearing that the Crown  insisted he use; as such, could he now, as chief justice, have resumed the preliminary hearing, for example in the event that he had not had authority to relinquish the file to the next judge who then acted as presiding judge, and who then aborted the hearing.

I'm sure I'll have other questions.  If anyone is interested in weighing in on this, it would be much appreciated.  I'm looking for the law of the day, not just speculation.

Thanks for your time.  Kind regards,

AAB

 

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AAB
  • Paralegal Student

In 1940, under the Defence of Canada Regulations, was it possible to legally arrest Canadians residing in provinces other than Quebec and transport them to Montreal to stand trial as a group with individuals charged in Quebec?  This actually happened.  I wonder how the Court of Sessions of the Peace in Montreal could have jurisdiction over people brought in from another province.

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AAB
  • Paralegal Student

In 1940, under the Defence of Canada Regulations (War Measures Act), on what basis could warrants be issued to search and seize property, and to arrest individuals?

Were the provisions of Defence of Canada Regulations sufficient, on the face of the warrant, to execute such warrant, or were more substantial elements needed behind the warrants, e.g. evidence such as documents (anti-war pamphlets, for example), affidavits of suspected wrongdoing?   Wouldn’t there have to be reasonable or probable cause?

In the present case, it seems that raids took place first, across Canada, and people were arrested a few days later.  However, given that the preliminary hearing of these people wasa asborted (descrcibed in my first post above) and did not resume after the war and that the Chief Justice felt that these people were discharged of the charges, and given that the Crown laid no further charges, it seems that there was no evidence on which to base the charges.  If so, what evidence, if any, had to have been used to lay the charges under the DOCR?

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AAB
  • Paralegal Student

Given that defendants are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, and that a preliminary hearing might not lead to a trial, for example because of a lack of evidence, but in this case because the preliminary hearing was halted, could/should the court have issued a publication ban?  One of the lawyers complained bitterly that the major dailies were declaring their clients guilty, in what he called a media trial.  He brought samples of the offending newspaper articles to court and asked the court to put a stop to it. He doesn't appear to have specifically asked for a publication ban, but the court rebuffed him in a way that suggested there was nothing that he or the court could do.  Could the court have acted on its own initiative?  Could the lawyer have requested a publication ban? 

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GoatDuck
  • Law Student

Man this looks like some family lore ngl 

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CleanHands
  • Lawyer

You do realize that you're asking people to conduct an extensive historical legal analysis that would take many hours for free and that this isn't stuff that anyone can just answer off the top of their head, right?

Nobody is going to give you answers to this.

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hellothere
  • Articling Student

What even... is this out of personal interest?

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AAB
  • Paralegal Student
On 5/10/2024 at 10:04 PM, CleanHands said:

You do realize that you're asking people to conduct an extensive historical legal analysis that would take many hours for free and that this isn't stuff that anyone can just answer off the top of their head, right?

Nobody is going to give you answers to this.

If you don't have an answer to any part of the questions, you are free to ignore the questions.

On 5/10/2024 at 10:29 PM, hellothere said:

What even... is this out of personal interest?

It's out of personal interest.  It's also Canadian history, Canadian government, and it looks potentially as though a serious violation of law, legal procedure, and basic human rights took place.  The culprits, meaning the "governments" in question, were never pegged on it, and I think they should be, even at this late date.  Not to  peg them sets a bad precedent.

It appears that, for the purposes of the preliminary hearing, the Crown prosecutor only presented the court with a typed list of 68 exhibits and a series of typed excerpts from these exhibits.  No originals were shown.  The excuse was apparently that it would take too long to “photograph” them.  That is, it would take too long to copy them with the “Photostat” machine (not the photocopier, but the Photostat).  Even if this is a preliminary hearing, in 1940, wouldn't it be necessary to produce the originals or certified “Photostats” of the exhibits when you are accusing people of violating the Defence of Canada Regulations; and in the margins, also treason, and moreover the accused were interned, some for as much as 5 years, on the basis of these typewritten so-called “exhibits”.

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AAB
  • Paralegal Student
On 5/10/2024 at 9:45 PM, GoatDuck said:

Man this looks like some family lore ngl 

No, it's not family lore.  It's Canadian lore.

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AAB
  • Paralegal Student

Here's why the case should be studied.  The federal government, the Quebec government, the Court of Sessions of the Peace, selected French and English daily press, and some political press, colluded to frame people they knew to be innocent in order to intern them because they were political opponents of the ruling party.  A couple of them died in the Canadian concentration camps as a result.  That adds homicide.  Those guilty of framing them should be exposed, even at this late date.  A crime is a crime, and government is not above the law.

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Diplock
  • Lawyer

I predict this thread will not end well.

@OP - You're of course entitled to be interested in this if you are, for whatever (likely personal) reasons those happen to be. But several people have warned you, in varying ways, that you're unlikely to find anyone else here who shares your interest. You are especially unlikely to find anyone here who shares your interest and is able to answer your admittedly obscure questions about Canadian law not as it exists now but as it existed long before the lifetime of anyone who could possibly be here. Thus far, those warnings (though they've been a bit ungentle) seem to be upsetting you. And that's a bad sign.

In my experience, especially on the Internet, people who show up somewhere on a mission only tangentially related to the place where they've shown up, expecting people to care about their mission and bothered by the warning that's unlikely to happen, tend to become very frustrated very quickly. And that's what I see happening here. Your recent posts are just protestations about why people should care about the thing you care about. I'm going to suggest you're unlikely to convert anyone. So when that doesn't happen, what's next?

Just saying, this community centered on law school and law students genuinely isn't the answer to every question about law that anyone has ever had, and it doesn't pretend to be. You might keep that in mind.

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CleanHands
  • Lawyer
On 5/12/2024 at 3:16 AM, Diplock said:

I predict this thread will not end well.

28 minutes ago, AAB said:

Dippy:  rude comment [removed by mods]

@AAB You kinda validated his prediction there, bud.

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  • LOL 1
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