Canadian Lawyer

August 2019

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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www.lawtimesnews.com 27 Man accidently released from jail An American who was accused of first-degree murder was accidentally permitted to leave jail after another criminal charge against him was dismissed, reports CNN. Eric Alexander Vail Jr. had been jailed after being charged with second-degree murder earlier this year, after police alleged he'd been involved in the fatal shooting of a 27-year-old man. He was accused of using an AK-47 in the attack. In April, Vail pleaded not guilty to the charge at an arraignment. He was released after prosecutors dismissed the charge of second-degree murder, to proceed with a charge of first-degree murder. But apparently, this led to a confusion in paperwork and Vail was accidentally released. And finger- pointing began between the sheriff's office and the prosecutors about who was responsible. The sheriff's spokeswoman, Keyla Concepcion, said in a statement that the "jail had not received any documentation from the clerk of courts stating the subject was to remain in custody to face another charge." Mystery mime artist steals cash Scottish villagers are trying to track down a mime artist who wore a costume that disguised their features and appeared at a charity event, raising hundreds of dollars before leaving without sharing any of it. The Scottish Sun reported that the mime artist wore a checkered black-and-white outfit and wandered around the event in Woolaston. "Everyone thought it was a great idea. He was dancing with the samba band and putting his arm around children who wanted their photograph with him," said Sue Anderson. The man handed out flyers, reported the paper, asking people to guess his age and promising a reward to those who guessed correctly. "When everybody thought he was going to climb on stage and do the big reveal, nobody could find him. He had just disappeared," said the paper. Organizers had put out a request on Facebook, and the man offered to transfer money to the event's bank account, but then he heard nothing after that. BIZARRE BRIEFS INSIDER SURGE IN COMPLAINTS FOR OMBUDSMAN Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé reported a "historic" surge in complaints over the past year, including hundreds of complaints about delays and decisions across the province's 37 administrative tribunals. The ombudsman's office received a total of 27,419 complaints in 2018-2019, representing a 30-per-cent increase from the previous fiscal. The office also had its mandate expanded for the second time in four years. "In many ways, this past year has been a defining one for the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario," wrote Dubé in his fourth annual report as ombudsman. "Without question, fiscal 2018-2019 was one of the busiest years in this office's 44-year history in terms of complaints handled — 27,419, representing an increase of almost 30 per cent over the previous year. It was also historic in terms of our mandate, which was expanded by government for the second time in four years." FOUR HONORARY LLDS AWARDED The Law Society of Ontario awarded honorary doctorates to four distinguished legal leaders at its June 25 and 26 Call to the Bar ceremonies. Law Society Treasurer Malcolm Mercer presented Gloria Epstein, Thulisile Madonsela, Earl A. Cherniak and Stephen Toope with honorary LLD degrees during ceremonies held in Toronto. FORMER DIPLOMAT JOINS MCMILLAN AS ADVISOR McMillan LLP has expanded its Canadian-Asian practice with John McCallum who joined the firm as senior strategic advisor, effective June 10. Soon after becoming an MP, McCallum nominated Nelson Mandela as an honorary citizen of Canada in 2001. He served as defence minister under Jean Chrétien. Under Paul Martin, he served as veterans' affairs minister, national revenue minister, natural resources minister and as chairman of the Expenditure Review Committee. As minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in Justin Trudeau's cabinet, he led Canada's effort to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees over a period of three months. He served as Canadian ambassador to China from 2017 to 2019. GOWLING WLG GETS NEW DIVERISTY AND INCLUSION ADVISOR Rebecca Bromwich has joined Gowling WLG as the new national manager of diversity and inclusion. She says with diversity issues making headlines in Ontario and Quebec, large law firms have a platform to pressure the rest of the profession to make equity a priority. Bromwich says lawyers have made progress since she spent six years as a staff lawyer to the Canadian Bar Association, where she focused on law reform and equality. Still, Bromwich says there is much more work to be done. "When I was with Canadian Bar Association, we were in a place where we were working with firms developing the business case for diversity and inclusion," says Bromwich, who is based in Ottawa. Bromwich says religious inclusion is a top priority for the firm. "Events are important and so is education for our people at Gowling, as well as engagement in the public realm and recruitment and retention issues — to try and address historical inequalities that continue to be a problem in law firms," she says. LAW TIMES BRIEFS

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