Shot down and locked up -- client is finally free

The client was just another victim of gun violence on the streets of Toronto – shot in the leg on a crowded downtown street and left groaning on the pavement as a crowd of people dispersed. But the shooter left his gun behind, and police found it on the ground a few feet away from the client. They gathered some information from some people claiming to be witnesses (people who subsequently disappeared) and then charged the client with offences related to discharging a firearm and possession of an illegal handgun. He was alleged to have shot himself.

The client always maintained his innocence of these charges -- and was presumed innocent under law -- but this didn’t save him from being denied bail and forced to wait for his trial in jail.

The sad reality of our justice system is that innocent people are denied bail and sent to jail everyday. The struggle to protect the constitutional right to reasonable bail is especially difficult for innocent people accused of gun crime in the current climate. Any time a knee-jerk reaction to gun violence includes a government initiative to make sure that nobody charged with gun crime gets bail (as is the present situation in Ontario), the inevitable consequence is that innocent people will go to jail.

The client faced other outstanding charges as well, but the overwhelming reason for being denied bail was his firearms charges. But even months after his arrest, when it became clear that the Crown’s case was actually much weaker than it had been made to appear at the original bail hearing, the client was denied an opportunity to argue for his release on bail pending trial.

The client had to try to recover from his injury in prison until the trial finally came. In defending the client at trial, Tyler MacDonald demonstrated how the lack of evidence begged the conclusion that the Crown had not met its onus of proving the firearms offences beyond a reasonable doubt. The client was acquitted and released from custody that day. He’s finally free to rehabilitate his leg, and his life, as he sees fit.