Online backlash grows after cat is abused in Duncan

Victoria lawyer Michael Mulligan commenting in CHEK News story by April Lawrence.

The online backlash caused by the abuse of a cat in Duncan, has expanded to include information identifying young suspects and threatening them with death and bodily harm.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act makes it a criminal offence, punishable by up to two years in jail, to publish the identity of young people being dealt with under the act. Publication can include online publication.

The reason for the prohibition on publishing the identify of young people is the desirability of rehabilitating young people and not permanently marking them as a result of a youthful transgression.

Threatening death or bodily harm, or counselling others to commit an offence, are also criminal offences.

Watch the story here:



Changes to Impaired Driving Laws for Marijuana and Alcohol – CFAX Legally Speaking

Victoria Lawyer Michael Mulligan on CFAX 1070 – Legally Speaking – discussing proposed changes to impaired driving laws for both drugs and alcohol.

Bill C-46 has passed third reading and, if it becomes law, will make a number of significant changes to impaired diving laws in Canada.

Currently, before a police officer is permitted to require a driver to blow into an alcohol screening device, they are required to have reasonable grounds to suspect that the driver have alcohol in their body. The proposed changes would permit alcohol screening tests to be required without any grounds to suspect a driver has alcohol in their body.

In some parts of the United States, where random blood alcohol testing has been authorized, courts have required police to publish in advance how and where testing will be conducted in order to guard against testing being demanded on the basis of discriminatory factors such as race.

In addition, as is currently the case for alcohol, new offences would be created if a driver has specified levels of THC in their blood. This is proving to be controversial as there is no scientific consensus with respect to what levels of THC would actually impair a person’s ability to drive.

Frequent users of marijuana could have the prohibited levels of THC in their blood for days after they last used marijuana. They would be subject to criminal prosecution if they drove during this time.

It is likely that the proposed legal changes will result in legal uncertainty with respect to both the constitutionality of random breath testing as well as THC limits that may not correspond with impairment.

Listen to the show here.

Michael Mulligan is a lawyer at Mulligan Tam Pearson in Victoria. Legally Speaking is live on CFAX 1070 at a new time: 10:30am on Thursdays

RCMP Agent Admits Killing Two People – CFAX Legally Speaking

Victoria Lawyer Michael Mulligan on CFAX 1070 – Legally Speaking – discussing the evidence of an RCMP Agent who admitted to killing two people under oath.

During a Victoria drug trafficking trial, an RCMP agent admitted to killing two unrelated people. The RCMP agent, Matthew Holland, has a criminal record for offences including manslaughter, but has not been arrested or charged with respect to the two people additional people he testified that he killed.

Mr. Holland testified that one of the people he killed picked him up hitchhiking. He testified that he beat the man severely, dragged him from his car, and left him for dead somewhere along the Malahat. He testified that he did this twenty years ago.

He also admitted to beating, stomping on, and leaving a man, apparently dead, behind a bar in Courtenay.

Because Mr. Holland’s admissions occurred in court they could not be used against him in a prosecution for the offences he admitted to. Independent evidence would be required.

The decision by the RCMP to employ someone like Mr. Holland raises important questions about the need for civilian oversight of the RCMP. Mr. Holland was paid more than $100,000 by the RCMP to work for them and purchase cocaine as part of a drug investigation and has not been arrested for the crimes he has admitted committing.

Listen to the show here.

Read the transcript of Mr. Holland’s admissions here.

Legally Speaking is live on CFAX 1070 Thursdays at 2:00pm.

Expedite Accident Clearing – Michael Mulligan on CFAX Legally Speaking

 Victoria Lawyer Michael Mulligan on CFAX 1070 – Legally Speaking – discussing a proposal by North Vancouver to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to expedite the clearing of car accidents.

Currently, Motor Vehicle Act regulations require police officers to complete an accident report when there appears to be more than $1,000 in damage.

In some circumstances, this can result in vehicles being left to block traffic on busy roads or bridges.

The District of North Vancouver has submitted a resolution for consideration by the Union of BC Municipalities to increase the threshold for mandatory accident reports to $10,000 in order to expedite the clearing of accidents.

The proposal has been met with resistance from police officers who have argued that statistical information from minor accident can assist in identifying dangerous locations.

Listen to the show here: Legally Speaking.

Michael Mulligan is a lawyer at Mulligan Tam Pearson in Victoria. Legally Speaking is live on CFAX 107o Thursdays at 2:00pm.

An alternative to an ICBC rate hike – a deductible

Victoria Lawyer Michael Mulligan on CHEK News proposing an alternative to a 30% ICBC rate hike: adding a deductible for drivers who cause accidents. Requiring divers who cause an accident to pay a deductible, such as that which applies if you make a claim for a broken window, would save ICBC money directly and encourage safe driving without requiring substantially increased premiums for drivers who don’t cause accidents.

Harold Backer released on $50,000 bail

Victoria Lawyer Michael Mulligan comments in a story by April Lawrence on CHECK news:

Nobody was answering at the Chemainus home where Harold Backer has been ordered to stay while awaiting trial on fraud charges.

The home belongs to his mother, who told CHEK News by phone she is glad to have her son home to help her.

When asked where he disappeared to for a year and a half, she said she couldn’t tell.

Early Monday evening a scruffy and gaunt looking Backer walked out of the Victoria courthouse after more than two weeks in custody.

He was granted $50,000 bail, and was picked up by his son, refusing to answer any questions, including where he was or why he turned himself in.

It was that act, of coming forward to police, that one criminal lawyer says is likely the reason the 54-year-old was released.

“Where you have an individual who has no previous record, who turns himself in, those would be important considerations for a judge in deciding whether a person needs to be held in custody before they’ve had a trial,” said Michael Mulligan, a criminal lawyer with Mulligan, Tam Pearson in Victoria.

Backer has to abide by 14 conditions while out on bail — they include staying at the home in Chemainus and following a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., he has to report to a bail supervisor once a week, he can’t trade any securities or work as an investment advisor and he had to surrender all travel documents including his passport.

Mulligan says for the most part, Canada’s bail system of conditions and supervision is effective.

“If you kept everyone in jail waiting for their trial that’s going to make the presumption of innocence pretty hollow sounding for someone who’s alleged to have committed an offense,” said Mulligan.

The former Olympian is being represented by a criminal lawyer from Vancouver who isn’t commenting on the case for now.

Backer is facing two charges of fraud over $5000 dollars, and is also the subject of a civil suit.

One of the alleged victims tells CHEK News the images of Backer emerging from the courthouse show he is “suffering”.

Harold Backer will return to court June 5.

Special Prosecutor for BC Political Donations and Legal Aid Funds Diverted on Legally Speaking

Victoria Lawyer Michael Mulligan on CFAX 1070 – Legally Speaking – discussing the appointment of a special prosecutor, at the request of the RCMP, to deal with the investigation of political donations in BC. In addition, new information reveals the diversion of $135.2 million from the provision of legal aid in 2016.

In British Columbia there are no limits on the amount of money that can be donated to a political party. Donations are permitted from corporations, unions and even foreign corporations.

One of the few legal requirements for political donations in BC is that they not be indirect. A person may not make a donation in their name only to be reimbursed by someone else. The reason for this rule is that while donations are unlimited, it is supposed to be possible to look up who gave how much to which party so that there can be some scrutiny of improper influence or government decisions that benefit donors.

You can search BC political donations here.

When lobbyists, or others, make substantial donations in their own name and are then secretly reimbursed by their clients it becomes much more difficult to determine if the donations resulted in some improper benefit. When you search the database of donations, only the name of the lobbyist would be revealed. Since it was uncovered that donations were being made and recorded in this way by a Globe and Mail investigation, Elections BC asked the RCMP to investigate the matter.

Pursuant to an RCMP request the special prosecutor was appointed to provide legal advice during the investigation, decide if charges should be approved, and then prosecute any charges.

In other legal news, a freedom of information request just revealed the amount of money that was diverted from the legal aid system in British Columbia in 2016.

British Columbia has a special tax on legal services that is supposed to pay for legal aid in the province. The tax was originally introduced by the NDP when they last formed government. Soon after the tax was introduced is began collecting slightly more money than the NDP was providing to the Legal Services Society, which administers legal aid in BC. As a result, when in opposition, the BC Liberal party was extremely critical of the NDP calling it wrong that money collected for the purpose of providing legal aid for the poor would be spent on other things.

Once in government, however, the BC Liberals dramatically cut the legal aid budget but retained the special tax on legal services. The amount of money being collected but not used for legal aid increased every year since.

A Freedom of Information request just revealed how much money was collected pursuant to the special tax in 2016: $193.1 million.

In 2016, the BC Government only provided $72.6 million to the Legal Services Society. Of the $72.6 million, $14.7 million of this was actually a transfer from the federal government to the province of BC to help pay for legal aid.

As a result, in 2016, the BC Government collected $135.2 million more from the special tax on legal services than it spent on legal aid.

As a result, thousands of people in need to legal assistance received no help.

Listen to the show here:

Michael Mulligan is a lawyer at Mulligan Tam Pearson in Victoria. Legally Speaking is live on CFAX1070 Thursdays at 2:00pm.


Christy Clark false claim of NDP hacking – Legally Speaking w. Michael Mulligan

Victoria Lawyer Michael Mulligan on CFAX 1070 – Legally Speaking – discussing the legal implications of Christy Clark making false claims that the NDP hacked into the BC Liberal web page.

John Horgan categorically denied the allegation and advised that he had consulted a lawyer concerning a possible civil actions for slander.

The episode is discussed in the context of former premier Vader Zalm being successful sued for $60,000 by  Ted Hughes for false claims made a book written by Vander Zalm.

While MLAs cannot be sued for making defamatory statements in the legislature they enjoy no such privilege for statements made elsewhere. False statements that damage someones reputation are actionable. Repeating the statements can aggravate damages, while retracting them and apologizing can mitigate the damages.

Independent MLA Vicki Huntington later advised that the BC Liberal web site had no password protection and that private donor information was accessible by simply clicking on a link.

Christy Clark has now apologized for her false claim of NDP hacking and promised to improve security on the web page.

Also discussed on the show are reports that Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins plans to seek a nomination to run for the BC Liberals in the next provincial election and how the forthcoming report with respect to suspended Victoria Police Chief Elsner may impact her.

Michael Mulligan is a lawyer at Mulligan Tam Pearson in Victoria. Legally Speaking is live on CFAX 1070 Thursdays at 2:00pm.




Michael Mulligan: Prescription heroin could save lives

Times Colonist option piece: Prescription heroin could save lives