Monday, December 28, 2015

Review of Selwyn Pieters, Pieters Law Office more important, challenging and interesting work in 2015

By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Created December 28, 2015

This is a review of my year of litigation. In 2015 my journey through litigation took my through several practice areas including education law, human rights, police law, criminal law, civil litigation, administrative, constitutional and public law. I won some, I lost some, I resolved some and other cases were litigated on principles so that whether lost or won, the important issue was the principle and standing up for justice.

Constitutional and Public law

McAteer et al. v. Attorney General of Canada 36120 – Constitutional – freedom of expression – Citizenship Oath to Queen Elizabeth II  - Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was denied. See, McAteer, et al. v. Attorney General of Canada, 2015 CanLII 8563 (SCC). See also McAteer v. Canada (Attorney General), 2014 CarswellOnt 10955, 2014 ONCA 578, 121 O.R. (3d) 1, 242 A.C.W.S. (3d) 772, 27 Imm. L.R. (4th) 216, 376 D.L.R. (4th) 258 affirming McAteer, Topey, Dror-Natan v. Canada (Attorney General)  2013 CarswellOnt 13165, 290 C.R.R. (2d) 332, 20 Imm. L.R. (4th) 121, 117 O.R. (3d) 353, 2013 ONSC 5895, E.M. Morgan J. (Ont. S.C.J.). See also Roach et al. v. Canada 2012 CarswellOnt 7799, 2012 ONSC 3521 (ON S.C.). The applicants' position in this case was the Oath to the Queen in the Citizenship Act violates sections 2(a) and (b) Charter of Rights and Freedoms and cannot be saved by section 1. So the Oath Challenge failed. Mr. Dror Bar-Natan took the oath of citizenship in November 2015 and immediately renounced it upon receiving his citizenship certificate.

Taylor-Baptiste v. OPSEU is one of the more significant labour and employment law cases in 2015. It was argued at the Court of Appeal by my friend Ranjan Agarwal.…/Top_10_Employment___Labour_La… I argued the case at the Human Rights Tribunal and my colleague Ranjan Agarwal argued at the Divisional Court and the Court of Appeal. The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal in  in the case of Taylor-Baptiste v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 2015 ONCA 495 affirming  Taylor-Baptiste v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 2014 ONSC 2169 (Div. Ct.) and Taylor-Baptiste v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union et al, 2014 ONSC 5218 (costs). Counsel at the Court of Appeal and Divisional Court was Ranjan Agarwal and Amanda McLaughlin of Bennet Jones. At the Human Rights Tribunal I represented Correctional Manager Mariann Taylor-Baptiste in the ground-breaking competing rights case of Taylor-Baptiste v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 2012 CarswellOnt 8965, 2012 HRTO 1393, 2012 C.L.L.C. 230-022 reconsideration denied in 2013 CarswellOnt 1033, 2013 HRTO 180, 2013 C.L.L.C. 230-019 at the HRTO. The case is now at the Supreme Court of Canada on an Application for Leave to Appeal

Human Rights Law

In January 2015 Lawyers for the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, and the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario intervened at the Supreme Court of Canada in a case of alleged racial profiling of a Pakistani Pilot Javed Latif. Human Rights lawyers including Preet K. Bell, Ranjan K. Agarwal, Selwyn A. Pieters, Faisal Bhabha, Khalid M. Elgazzar, Faisal Mirza, Aymar Missikala participated as counsel in Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne et desdroits de la jeunesse) v. Bombardier Inc. (Bombardier Aerospace TrainingCenter), 2015 CarswellQue 6297, 2015 CarswellQue 6298, 255 A.C.W.S. (3d) 79, 2015 SCC 39 (CanLII). The Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decision in July 2015 dismissing the appeal but upholding the reasoning of the Ontario Court of Appeal in the Peel Law Association v. Pieters, 2013 CarswellOnt 7881, 2013 ONCA 396, 228 A.C.W.S. (3d) 204, 116 O.R. (3d) 81, 306 O.A.C. 314, 9 C.C.E.L. (4th) 233, [2013] O.J. No. 2695(Ont. C.A.).

Rohan Roberts application is in the early stages of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario processes. The complaint is alleging racial profiling in the provision of services by the Toronto Police Services Board, Ryan D’ena and Andrew Keown. This is a walking whilst Black case involving allegations of police harassment, brutality and racial profiling.

The decision on the merits in Lewis v. Toronto Transit Commission was released. Mr. Lewis, an African-Canadian male, filed an Application under section 34 of Part IV of the Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, as amended, alleging discrimination with respect to employment because of race, colour, place of origin and reprisal. The application was dismissed: Lewis v.Toronto Transit Commission, 2015 CarswellOnt 3092, [2013] O.H.R.T.D. No. 2137, 2015 HRTO 256, CHRR Doc. 15-0756 (Whist).

Criminal Law

I am involved in drugs, guns and gang case "Project Rx". In that case over 70 persons were arrested by police officers in a joint forces operation. The preliminary Inquiry was completed in October 2015 and my client K.C. was discharged. The issue in that case was possession of firearms and drugs. 

Recently I was counsel in two cases where Black men in the Jane and Finch communities in Toronto were harassed then when they question that harassment, they were terrorized, brutalized and to add further injury charged with assault police, resist arrest or obstruct police. The charges were withdrawn in both instances of Michael Duru and Rohan Roberts. When such instances occur, we taken the view that it is a total abuse of their office. And, as I said before, using the courts and the justice system inappropriately to legitimize racial profiling. 

On March 16, 2015 the Court of Appeal decision in the long-standing racial profiling case of R. v.Steele, 2010 ONSC 5397 released by Justice Kathryn Feldman, Justice Janet Simmons and Justice Gladys Pardu: C53511 - R. v. Steele, 2015 CarswellOnt 3334, 2015 ONCA 169, [2015] O.J. No. 1253 (Ont. C.A.). Leave to the Supreme Court of Canada denied:  R. v. Steele, 2015 CanLII 43092 (SCC). In this case, the Court of Appeal ruled that a passenger has no rights to privacy in a motor vehicle during a traffic stop.

Civil Litigation

Bogiatzis v. Davis - Client died unexpectedly in the middle of preparation for examination for discoveries. This was quite shocking.

CV-14-512539 - Lam v University of Western Ontario Board of Governors, 2015 ONSC 5281 (CanLII), <>    and Lam v. The University of Western Ontario Board of Governors et al., 2015 ONSC 1642 (CanLII), <>. Two attempts by the Defendants to have the claim struck without leave to amend failed. The matter now moves to discoveries.

CV-13-491631-00A1 P.P., v.OCSDA v. J. H, T. F. and A. R. litigation involving minors on a field trip arranged and supervised by their school.

Police Law (hybrid Human Rights)

In Afzal v. Regional Municipality of Peel Police Services Board The applicant, a police officer filed an Application under s. 34 of the Human Rights Code, alleging discrimination with respect to employment because of race, colour, place or origin, ethnic origin. He later retained counsel to assist him with the process.

Bartol v. Waterloo Police Services Board  - This was an application where a Dispatch officer alleged discrimination against her in employment on the basis of disability contrary to sections 5(1) and 9 of the Human Rights Code. The application also alleged that the employer took retaliatory action against her in contravention of section 8 of the Code.

Education Law

I represented former Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Director Christopher "Chris" Spence before the University of Toronto Tribunal in respect to plagiarism allegation in respect to his PhD Thesis. 

Dispute Resolution
For 2015 I have settled numerous cases through the mediation process at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Other cases involving employment law were settled in direct negotiations with employers' counsel.

International Law

Walter Anthony Rodney Commission of Inquiry in Georgetown, Guyana. The Government of Guyana terminated the evidentiary phase after the elections of May 2015. Closing arguments were made in July 2015 and the final report may be released on January 31, 2016.

On April 20, 2014, when the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC)] announced its participation in the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry, it concluded its press statement by saying “Guyana and Guyanese deserve closure to this chapter of our history and an end brought to use of Rodney’s name as a wedge. The GTUC is prepared once again to play its part to the achievement of this end.” The Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry took up a lot of my time and efforts in 2015. The fact remains that the taxpayers spent $400 Million dollars. Further, the fact remains that a lot of time and effort of a lot of people were put into that Commission. As well, the fact is there needs to be closure for the Rodney Family, the Burnham Family, the Smith's Family, people like Ogunseye (who faithfully attended most of the proceedings including closing arguments), The PNC persons (who felt their characters were at issue) and many others who need that aspect of Guyanese history to be done and historically wrapped up. The sensible thing is to provide the time required to complete that report. The Commissioners are paid to Inquire and Report. Its taxpayers money, let it be done. Presenting the report at [January] month's end closes the matter..... We can then move on [in] 2016 without the Rodney name being used as a wedge, as Lincoln Lewis describes it.

No comments: