Supreme Court of Canada agrees no jury trials for securities offences

CALGARY, Feb. 24, 2017 /CNW/ - The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed two appeals from Alberta defendants seeking a right to trial by jury for Securities Act offences. This decision upholds the December 2015 ruling by the Alberta Court of Appeal in the same matters.

The appellants, Ronald Aitkens and Jeremy (Jay) Peers, are each facing charges under the Securities Act in two unrelated cases. They claimed that the maximum penalty under Alberta securities laws of five years less a day in prison, or a $5 million fine, or both, triggers 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 punishment is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment.

The appeal was heard before all nine Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada on February 14, 2017. In their unanimous ruling, the Court dismissed the appeal "substantially for reasons of the majority of the Court of Appeal, 2015 ABCA 407, 609 A.R. 352."

"This decision reinforces that securities offences will be tried in Provincial Court through the summary conviction process, as they always have been," said Stan Magidson, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the ASC. "The Alberta Securities Commission will continue to prosecute serious breaches of the Securities Act (Alberta) in Provincial Court in trials before a judge alone."

Copies of the decisions are available on the Supreme Court of Canada website.

Aitkens' trial has been scheduled for April 2018. Jeremy Peers pled guilty in February 2016; a sentencing date has not yet been set and a court appearance is scheduled for later today.

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: Alison Trollope, Director, Communications and Investor Education, 403.297.2664, For Investor Inquiries: ASC Public Inquiries, Toll Free 1.877.355.4488


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