While serving as Deputy Superintendent of JCF (Jamaican Constabulary Force) for 22 years and then working as a Liaison Officer with the Toronto Police for two years – later as Assistant Crown Attorney working at the North York Crown Attorney’s Office, I have experience the impact of the criminal justice system on youths and adults – many of whom were unaware of their rights and sometimes unable to obtain good legal representation.
My decision to become a Criminal Defence Attorney was to do my part to carefully monitor and challenge systemic bias in the justice system while providing competent and affordable representation to clients when they need it.
Here’s an one example of how Mattis Law has challenged systemic bias on behalf of a client:
A few years ago, while at Superior Court intending to set bail hearing for a client charged ‘as an accessory after the fact’ for murder, we were given a date 6 weeks in the future. When we inquired why the date was so far in the future, we were told simply ‘there is a protocol in place that allows for this to happen’. Well, if a person is presumed ‘innocent until proven guilty’ it is unfair to hold them for this length of time without the opportunity to receive bail. The regular bail process for other charges gives the prosecutor 3 days, however a bail hearing for murder does not specify a time frame just , “ reasonable time. “
Challenging this status quo – we brought a rarely used application called Habeus Corpus – this application allows for a speedier bail hearing. In the application, we cited the example of the policeman who shot and killed Sammy Yatim in Toronto and received his bail hearing within 48 hours under this same protocol. There are no special provisions for police officers in the law.
The results? The presiding Judge ordered a bail hearing within 3 days. He also informed the court that the protocol that was referred to by one prosecutor as ‘gospel’, has been rescinded. The practice changed immediately – now, if a bail application is made this week a hearing is scheduled by the Friday of the following week.
At Mattis Law we are always to prepared to go the distance for our clients. We’ve gained the reputation of not being afraid to challenge the law and the legal status quo. Getting the best outcome for our clients is our goal.
Do you have a case you would like to discuss? Call me (647-348-6588) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) – your first consultation is free.