A Google Class Action Settlement and Murder vs Manslaughter


This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:

Google has agreed to settle a Canadian Class Action based on an alleged breach of privacy arising from the collection and transmission of Android smartphone data. The data in question consists of the identification number or code of the cell towers used to connect Android phones.

The Cell ID Data would identify the Android phone by unit serial number and could if considered alongside significant additional data obtained from other sources, assist someone in deducing the identity and location of an Android phone user. The data at issue was transmitted to Google from January through December of 2017.

Once a class action has been certified, a proposed settlement must be reviewed by a judge to determine if it is in the interest of the class members. Fees for counsel who conducted the class action much also be approved by a judge.

Here, the settlement of $1 million was approved. This amount will be distributed to class members who are identified. In addition, two representative plaintiffs, who spent time assisting with the class action, received an honorarium of $2,000 and $500 in accordance with the time and work they spent helping with the class action.

Also, on the show, the difference between murder and manslaughter is discussed in the context of a recent case from Nanaimo where a drug dealer that tormented one of his drug-addicted clients was finally beaten to death by the client.

What would otherwise be Murder can be reduced to manslaughter if the killing was the result of provocation from “a wrongful act or insult that is of such a nature as to be sufficient to deprive an ordinary person of self-control.”

In 2015 the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act added an additional requirement to this partial defence to murder which required the wrongful act of insult to also be a criminal offence punishable by more than five years of imprisonment. The intention of the change was to ensure murder convictions for honour killings.

In a previous British Columbia case, however, a judge concluded that the addition of the requirement that the act of insult also constitutes this kind of criminal offence could result in battered women, and others, being convicted of murder and sentenced to life in jail if they were to finally respond to some form of intolerable abuse that would not, itself, constitute a crime. As a result, in British Columbia, the requirement that the wrongful act or insult also be a crime punishable by more than five years of imprisonment was found to be unconstitutional.


Legally Speaking with Victoria lawyer Michael Mulligan is live on CFAX 1070 every Thursday at 10:30 am.