Alberta Court of Appeal says no jury trial for securities offences

CALGARY, Dec. 21, 2015 /CNW/ - The Alberta Court of Appeal has dismissed two appeals from defendants seeking a right to a trial by jury for Securities Act offences. The appeals – one from Calgary and one from Edmonton – claimed that the maximum penalty under Alberta securities laws of five years less a day in prison, or a $5 million fine, or both, triggered the right to a jury trial under section 11(f) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That section provides a right to a trial by jury for any person charged with an offence where the maximum sentence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment.

In dismissing the appeals, the majority of the Court concluded "…the maximum penalty of five years less a day found in the Securities Act was deliberately chosen to avoid jury trials of complex securities prosecutions. The Provincial Legislature cannot be criticized for attempting to enact Charter-compliant legislation by deliberately setting a maximum penalty which reflects the de facto cut-off in the Charter, and the procedural limitations of the Provincial Court."

An appearance to set a date for trial in the Calgary proceeding against Ronald Aitkens will be held in mid-January 2016. The Edmonton proceeding, involving defendants Jeremy and Robert Peers, is scheduled to begin in February 2016.

A copy of the decision is available on the ASC website at www.albertasecurities.com.

The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the province's securities laws.  It is entrusted with fostering a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta and with protecting investors.  As a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and harmonize the regulation of Canada's capital markets.

SOURCE Alberta Securities Commission

For further information: For Media Inquiries: Mark Dickey, Senior Communications Advisor, 403.297.4481; For Investor Inquiries: ASC Public Inquiries, Toll Free 1.877.355.4488

RELATED LINKS
http://www.albertasecurities.com

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890