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