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Legal Humour Blog

 

October 2013

No Way and Norway

Oct 30, 2013 9:34 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    We were all set to welcome Mr Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada.  Unfortunately a lawyer colleague of ours, whose name has appeared from time to time in the media, has decided to challenge this appointment arguing that Nadon J, a Federal Court judge, from Quebec, does not know enough Quebec law to qualify as one of three S.C.C. reps from Quebec.  The good judge, although sworn in, has stepped aside pending further determination of his status.

    My question is, what drives people like this lawyer  to spend time on causes like this?  I know most lawyers are busy representing clients who are injured, have matrimonial problems or are trying to get their insurers to pay out on a fire claim.  Which client is he serving?  I cannot imagine someone with a legal aid certificate coming to his office and saying, "Sir, there is this Federal Court judge who is being appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada and he knows diddly about Quebec law. Do something.”

    And what kind of continuing legal education courses does he take to satisfy the LSUC professional development requirements? I hear on his portal, he claimed 2 hours of credits for professional development for watching the movie, “The Terminator”.

    I wish him luck. I am talking about Justice Nadon.

    At least Nadon J had it better than that hunter in rural Norway who shot at a moose, missed, with the bullet piercing a nearby cabin striking a man in his seventies while sitting on the toilet.  Nadon J is definitely luckier than the guy on the toilet.  I suppose the moose is the luckiest. I wonder if he related this story to his fellow moose:

    “Suddenly I hear a shot and a bullet whizzes by my ear and hits old Olaf’s cabin....”
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    Actually I spent a few minutes Googling “Moose in Norway laughing.”  Nothing yet. I'll try again tomorrow.

    And no, I don’t know if that old man in Norway is suing. I hear rumours that as he was startled, he uttered one word, “Dritt”.  I found that out while Googling about those moose.

    Don’t spend too much time on Google Translate.   It’s Norwegian for a substance that some people disturb.

 

I practice personal injury/insurance and family law. Please visit my website www.striglaw.com .  I do not have clients seeking to stop judges from getting appointed but I do represent unsuspecting victims getting shot while sitting on the can.

 

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Dogs for Justice

Oct 23, 2013 10:33 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     The dogs are back in business.  The Supreme Court of Canada recently held in 2 companion cases that the deployment of a dog trained to detect illegal drugs … may be carried out without prior judicial authorization "where the police have a reasonable suspicion based on objective, ascertainable facts that evidence of an offence will be discovered.".

     In one case, R v MacKenzie, police formed that reasonable suspicion when they pulled MacKenzie over for speeding 2 kilometers over the limit and his eyes looked red.  The sniffer dog was summoned and he found 14 kilograms of marijuana. That was good enough for a conviction.

     I was recently stopped by police for going 10-15 kilometers over the limit. The officer was about to call in the sniffer dog, but I told him we were on our way to a wedding and he closed the cage.  He wished us a fun time at the wedding. I guess my eyes weren't red.

     In the other case of R v Chehil,  Mandeep Chehil traveling alone, bought a one way night flight ticket from Vancouver to Halifax, checking in one suitcase and paying in cash.  This was enough to trigger suspicion.  Police called in Fido and he found 3 kilograms of cocaine in the suitcase.

     I agree fully with the police actions and the SCC's approval of same.  In my view anyone flying alone from Vancouver to Halifax has all the markings of a Columbia Cartel cooperative.  He is  simply asking for trouble.   How can you have anything but a reasonable suspicion based on objective, ascertainable facts when you add that to these facts that he was traveling at night on a "red eye"?

     I think it would have been different had Mandeep been traveling from say, Saskatoon to Gander Nfld.  The dog's evidence would have been stopped in its tracks. But Vancouver to Halifax?  He's toast.

     Justice may have gone to the dogs but in this case it is might constitute a silver lining, as opposed to a false lining.   

 

    Please visit www.striglaw.com.  I practice personal injury/insurance and family law. I do not practice criminal law anymore.  I used to have a beagle.

 

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No Lethal Injection for You

Oct 13, 2013 11:44 AM
Marcel Strigberger

Here is a twist. In Salem, Oregon, a Gary Haugen as sentenced to be executed for a 1981 murder. And while waiting for this execution, he killed an inmate in 2003.  A month or so before the due date, the current state Governor, John Kithaber, a former practicing emergency doctor, who loathes capital punishment reprieved all on death row.

Now here is the crunch.   Gary Haugen wants to get executed.  In fact he brought an application to the courts to overturn the reprieve. The lower court granted his application and he was all set to enjoy his last meal.  

But hold the champagne.  To Gary’s chagrin,  the prosecution appealed this decision and the state’s appeal court reversed the lower court ruling saying Haugen cannot refuse the reprieve.

I don’t know what kind of lawyer Haugen hired. Obviously the lawyer was disappointed with the result.  How did he report to his client?

    “  Dear Mr Haugen

                  " I am sorry to advise you the Oregon Supreme Court has allowed the appeal of the People of Oregon.   It is with great sadness that I announce to you that you are    not going to be executed.  As you know I did try my best.  My record of losses until now in this kind of case was nil. I have had a number of my clients get the death sentence but unfortunately in this case my streak ended.
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                  Do you want to consider an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The justices there are a rather conservative bunch and you might get lucky.  I can try to convince them that to live is a cruel and unusual punishment.”

I feel sorry for the lawyer. When asked if he was getting paid for this case he responded, “Only over my client’s dead body. “

 

I practice personal injury/insurance and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com . I can proudly say I never lost one client to a lethal injection.

 

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September 2013


Quebec Charter of Values- First Judicial Decision

Sep 22, 2013 10:49 PM
Marcel Strigberger

The province of Quebec is buzzing with its proposed Charter of Values, wherein public servants will be prohibited from wearing ostentatious religious symbols such as crucifixes, and head covers, including the hijab, kippa etc.

The Minister in charge of implementing this brilliant law is Bernard Drainville, whose ministry is actually called the Ministry of Democratic Institutions. 

This Charter is designed supposedly to protect Quebec culture and keep public matters secular.  But as these things usually go, they can become more extensive and far reaching.  It will not be too long before we see the following legal decision:

Le Juge J.

This matter arises out of a charge against Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, aka The Cathedral of Montreal. The Cathedral is charged with contravening section 23(7) of the Charter of Values by sporting a dome resembling an oversized kippa.

The section reads:

        “No structure, waterway or other public place will hold, carry or have affixed to it any ostentatious religious symbol. Contravention of this section is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 2 years less one day.”

By way of background the Charter of Values, was proclaimed in 2013.  Since then the Quebec Ministry of Democratic Institutions sought ways to improve on the Charter and it legislated amendments, including section 23(7) proclaimed about a year ago.

The amendments make the offender itself liable for any violations.

The trial of this matter took 2 days. 

Charter of Values constable Jean-Pierre Poutine testified that he was cruising along Boulevard Rene Levesque near Avenue de Cathedrale when on the evening of December 12, he noticed something suspicious, to wit, a large structure resembling a church but covered with a huge kippa, about 150 feet high and 100 feet in diameter.

He immediately stopped his police car and walked over to the accused.

He testified that he told the cathedral to remove its head covering.  The accused just stood there, refusing to obey his order. He advises that he felt threatened and so he proceeded to taser it.

As the accused still did not respond, Constable Poutine handcuffed the suspect by clamping the cuffs around its front door handles.

He read the requisite police caution: “You’re under arrest, Tabarnak”.

After a two-day trial I found the accused guilty as charged. The Court did not accept as a defence that the accused is an exact replica, 50% in size, of St. Peter’s Church in Rome. The law is clear. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. But this is Quebec. We know better.

I shall now deal with sentencing.

It should be noted that the accused has a previous record, having been convicted of this same offense less than one year ago.  At that time, its lawyer, Me Marc Lenoix advised that his client promised to remove the offending dome and replace it with a less conspicuous cloth kippa  measuring in diameter about 6 inches. Based on this undertaking, this Court granted the accused a suspended sentence.. 

Unfortunately the accused continues to offend the Charter. In sentencing, a primary objective is general deterrence. The Court must send out a message to other potential violators that our society will not tolerate a mockery of the law.  If we allow this act to go unpunished , it will not be too long before we see a 500 foot high turban floating on the St Lawrence River.

The accused has shown no remorse. I sentence it to serve the maximum custodial jail sentence of two years less a day years in jail.

Constables, take the convict into custody.

 

While thinking about potential interesting clients such as churches, mountains and rivers, I practice personal injury and family law. Please visit  www.striglaw.com .

 

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The IKEA Monkey- Final Chapter

Sep 15, 2013 5:32 PM
Marcel Strigberger

       On or about December 9th 2012 Darwin, a pet monkey dressed in a little fur vest and pair of trousers, and belonging to Toronto lawyer Jasmin Nakhuda, escaped from her car parked at an IKEA parking lot, and sauntered into IKEA to the surprise of staff and shoppers.  Authorities were summoned and Animal Services took Darwin into custody.  From that day on, stories of the legal battle to determine who gets the monkey back have been making front row center appearances in the media around the globe.

    The matter has finally ended with Superior Court Justice Vallee rejecting Nakhuda’s claims that the monkey was like her child and stating that the monkey was a chattel, rightly now owned by “Story Book Farm”, a local animal sanctuary, where Darwin was placed. It should be noted that Ms Nakhuda signed a surrender form relinquishing ownership, though she claimed later she did not understand the consequences.

    In short the judge found that possession of a monkey is 9 tenths of the law.  

    A few lessons emerge from this case.

    Firstly, never leave your wild animals alone in the car when you go shopping.  If for example you just have to get some Rice Crispies at your local Walmart and you take you pet elephant along for the ride, bring Babar into the store.  One thing for certain, those Walmart greeters will accord him their usual sincere greeting without batting an eyelash.  

    Secondly, never sign away ownership on the spur of the moment of any animal.  Possession is indeed 9 tenths of the law.  If therefore Animal Services ever grabs your giraffe, call a lawyer immediately.  I for one have extensive experience in these cases having saved many pet owners from losing their rhinoceroses, anteaters and hyenas.  In fact, as we speak, I have to return the call of a client who was just shopping at Price Chopper when authorities arrested Harry, her hippo.

    Finally, what I learned is that it only took about 9 months for this case to go through the courts, endingwith a grand finale 4 day trial. This is much quicker service by the courts than a family law child custody case would receive.  I don’t know how the lawyers achieved resolution with such dispatch.  Maybe in future when I start a family law case, I’ll use catchy names in the title of proceedings, like Re Dumbo.  

       It baffles me totally how they pulled it off. I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

       I practice personal injury and insurance and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com .  As I said, please keep a close watch on your lions and tigers and bears. If authorities should nab them, call me, not some real estate or tax lawyer.

 

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The Midwest Book Review has referred to Marcel Strigberger as "an irrepressible humorist with a story teller’s flair for spinning a yarn with true (and hysterically funny) insights into the basics of human nature".

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