Category Archives: Criminal Law

“We don’t owe you anything:” Women’s rights activist Julie Lalonde speaks up about her decade-long stalker


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Stalking is a term that legally translates to criminal harassment in the Canadian Criminal Code. It is a term that has been romanticized in novels and romantic-comedy movies and normalized in everyday romantic interactions, predominantly between men and women.

In Canada, 76% of victims of stalking are women, and 58% of these women are stalked by former partners.

LegalEase’s Emma Noradounkian sat down with Julie Lalonde. Julie is a women’s rights activist, the manager of Draw the Line, a campaign that encourages bystanders to intervene in instances of sexual violence, and the founder of the Ottawa chapter of Hollaback!, a movement dedicated to ending street harassment. She is also a victim of stalking.

Julie shared her story with her decade-long stalker and she shed some light on the many barriers imposed by the Canadian criminal law on victims of stalking.  She also shared her thoughts on Canada’s new federal strategy that aims to reduce gender-based cyber-harassment. A consultation process for this strategy is expected by early 2017.



Episode December 2015 – Rising

Welcome to LegalEase with your hosts Lillian Boctor and Alice Mirlesse for this December 2015 edition of Legalease. LegalEase is a monthly show put together by a collective of law students and recently graduated law students at McGill that explores the law and its institutions with a critical lens and at the same time makes the jargon of the law more accessible.


We start the show with an interview from Paris with Daniel T’seleie, a Dene and participant in the “It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm” and “Indigenous Rising” Delegations to the COP21 in Paris, which took place from November 30 – December 12, 2015;

we hear the powerful words of Kandi Mosset, the Indigenous Environemental Network’s Native Energy and Climate Campaign Organizer and member of the “It Takes Roots” and “Indigenous Rising” Delegations at the COP21 in Paris, speaking at a press conference by Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus and Women Leading Solutions on Frontlines of Climate Change on December 8, 2015;


we hear from Alexis, a member and community leader of the WeCopwatch movement based in the Ferguson, Missouri neighborhood where police killed Mike Brown; and Tariq Ramadan, who teaches Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, was speaking at the McGill Faculty of Law last month and we hear an excerpt of his talk entitled, “Accommodation and Securitization, Dilemmas of Muslim Citizenship in Liberal Democracies.”

Episode December 2014 – Making Lives Matter

Legalease is a monthly show on Montreal’s CKUT 90.3FM put together by a collective of law students. It is a broadcast about the law, cast broadly, looking at the law with a critical lens and featuring voices of people most affected by the law and those organizing against injustice.

In this month’s Legalease, we interview Meena Jaganath, attorney at the Community Justice Project in Miami, about the legal support happening in Ferguson leading up to and after the non-indictment of Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown; the delegation of CJP, Dream Defenders, Michael Brown’s parents, We Charge Genocide and other groups to the UN Committee Against Torture; about the growing #blacklivesmatter movement; and the role of community lawyering in the movement.

We hear from Claire Abraham, community organizer at Project Genesis in Cote-des-Neiges, Montreal about the organizing that they are doing in collaboration with housing organizations around the ridiculously long 21-month waiting time for tenants to get their complaint about housing conditions heard at the Rental Board. A Mexican student at McGill University tells us about the Montreal Mexican community’s demand to take Mexico off the safe-country list in Canada, in light of the pandemic of violence and impunity in Mexico.

Finally we speak with Legalease Collective member Garrett Zehr about the extradition of Canadian citizen Hassan Diab to France, after a faulty trial and a shocking lack of evidence, and the injustices in Canada’s extradition law and processes. Legalease can be heard of the second Friday of each month on CKUT 90.3FM in Montreal and worldwide at

Episode – October 2016 – Abortion, MMIW, Land Defenders

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT – a broadcast about law, cast broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un groupe d’étudiants et étudiantes en droit de la communauté montréalaise. This month the program is entitled,  Abortion, MMIW, Land Defenders. Listen to the Episode here.

Professors Shivaun Quinlivan and Susan Cahill shared their lived experiences and insights on the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution. This Amendment equates the right to life of a pregnant woman with that of a foetus and criminalizes abortion in all cases except where continuing a pregnancy would result in death.
You can read Cahill’s story at…grets-1.2542740

Last week, hundreds walked in honour and solidarity of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) at the 11th annual Missing Justice March in Montreal. Hear from Mohawk artist and activist Ellen Gabriel, who cast doubts over the effectiveness of the current national inquiry on MMIW and Stacey Gomez of the Centre for Gender Advocacy, who shared ways to get involved in raising awareness for MMIW.


And finally, Anishinaabe land defenders Vanessa and Lindsay Gray spoke in Montreal last month. Vanessa is facing a 25-year prison sentence for allegedly sabotaging Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline. We’ll play parts of their talk, in which they discuss environmental racism, organizing in the Chemical Valley, and the importance of defending land defenders.

LegalEase on 90.3 FM is a radio program broadcast every second Friday of the month at 11am EST from Montreal, Quebec. Originally founded by the McGill Legal Information Clinic in 1989, LegalEase is now run by a collective of progressive law students from McGill University. Our weekly radio show deals with legal topics of interest to the community, with the intention of making the law both accessible and engaging. Tune into our show, follow us on Twitter @LegalEaseCkut, email legalease[at] or check our podcast library for past programming.

This month’s edition of LegalEase was produced by Alice Mirlesse, Gwendolyn Muir, and Emma Noradounkian.



Join us on Saturday, March 16, 2013, for the Law Union of Ontario’s Annual Conference! 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Law Union, and this year’s conference will bring progressive legal and activist communities together to discuss an exciting and challenging series of issues. To register for a day of inspiring and provocative panels, workshops, and discussion click here: REGISTER

The conference will be held at Victoria College, on the University of Toronto campus. The address is 91 Charles Street, with the building just south of Charles. This facility is wheelchair accessible. Follow this link for a map of the exact location of the conference:

Scroll down for the full schedule of panels and speakers.

CPD hours pending.


In honour of the Law Union’s 40th anniversary, join other conference-goers on the evening of Friday, March 15th, for a celebration with live music, drinks, reflections, and awards. This event will be held at the Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto, from 7:30 pm onwards. All are welcome!

Victoria College


PANELS: 9 – 10:30 am

Envisioning the New Law Practice Program
Renatta Austin, Articling Student, City of Toronto
Elena Iosef, Osgoode Hall Legal and Literary Society
Janet Minor, Ministry of the Attorney General, Law Society Bencher

Deconstructing the Doctrine of Discovery
Tannis Nielsen, Artist and Educator

Mental Health and Justice: Three Unique Voices
Sarah Shartal

Working on the Margins: Perspectives on Migrant Work in Canada
Fay Faraday, Osgoode Hall Law School, Faraday Law
Kelly Botengan, Magkaisa Centre, Phillipine Women’s Centre
Evelyn Encalada, Justice for Migrant Workers

MORNING PLENARY: 10:45 am – 12:15 pm

Panels full of Women: 40 Years Later, Has Anything Changed?
Beth Symes, Symes Street & Millard LLP, Law Society Bencher
Janet Minor, Ministry of the Attorney General, Law Society Bencher
Jessica Wolfe, Legal Aid Ontario
Sharon Walker, Dykeman Dewirst O’Brien, LLP

PANELS: 1:30 – 3:00 pm

Resonance: Police Racial Profiling and Intelligence Gathering
Vickie McPhee, Rights Watch Network

Decolonizing Relationships: Treaties and Beyond
Diane Kelly, Former Ogichidaakwe (Grand Chief), Treaty #3
Crystal Sinclair, B.S.W., Activist and Organizer, Idle No More Toronto
Lorraine Land, Olthuis Kleer Townshend

Advocacy out of the Courtroom: Skills without Gowns
Asha James, Falconer Charney LLP
Janina Fogels, Human Rights Legal Support Centre
Diana Zlomistic, Toronto Star

Resisting Neoliberal Reductions in Access to Justice

PANELS: 3:15 – 4:45 pm

Solidarity City Now: Legal and Community Organizing for Immigrant Justice
Rathika Vasavithasan, Parkdale Community Legal Services
Faria Kamal, Health for All
Sarah Mikhaiel, Sanctuary Network
Liza Draman, Caregivers Action Network

The End of the Employee: A Critical Discussion on the Rise of Contract Work, Internships and Underemployment
Claire Seaborn, Canadian Intern Association
Jenny Ahn, CAW, Director for Membership, Mobilization and Political Action

Aboriginal Youth and Child Welfare
Rina Okimawinew, Attawapiskat First Nation
Billie-Jean McBride, George Brown College
Judith Rae, Olthuis Kleer Townshend

Prison Litigation as Harm Reduction


Delia Opekokew is a lawyer and a deputy Chief Adjudicator for the Independent Assessment Process. From the Canoe Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, she was the first First Nations lawyer ever admitted to the bar association in Ontario and in Saskatchewan, as well as the first woman ever to run for the leadership of the Assembly of First Nations.

Childcare will be provided – please email us in advance at with the number and ages of the children who will be attending.

If you would like to donate to the conference, you may do so through
the Jur-Ed Foundation at Canada Helps

Questions? Email us at, and include “conference” in the subject heading.

Episode 40 (Dec 2012) – Race, Gender, and Social Context

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT – a broadcast about law, cast broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un groupe d’étudiants et étudiantes en droit de la communauté montréalaise.This month the program is entitled, “Race, Gender, and Social Context.”

Listen to the Episode Here

Host Garrett Zehr chairs an array of reflections on the subject of discrimination in Canada, specifically looking at race and gender. First, contributor Alyssa Clutterbuck presents a segment on the nature of discrimination. Sonia Lawrence, Professor at Osgoode law school, discusses the subject – “Is all discrimination alike?” Lawrence is the Director at the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode. Twitter – @osgoodeifls. This pithy presentation is worth listening to several times over.

Second, LegalEase remembers R v. RDS at 15 years – a seminal decision on race and and the judicial system. R. v. S. (R.D.), 1997 CanLII 324 (SCC), [1997] 3 SCR 484, In the case, the Supreme Court of Canada ruminates over the decision of Nova Scotia judge Sparks to take judicial notice of the systemic racism within the justice system. A finding of reasonable apprehension of bias against Sparks was overturned at the Supreme Court. Contributor Alyssa Clutterbuck sets up the piece, explaining why the case remains a chilling representation of the manner in which the Canadian legal system discusses race. Next, Legalease contributor Lillian Boctor interviews Dr. Esmeralda Thornhill James Robinson Chair at Dalhousie University and visiting scholar at McGill.

Finally, LegalEase revisits an earlier story presenting a study by Natai Shelson on the gendered experience of law school. You can find part of Shelson’s study at p 4 of the this edition of the Quid Novi, February 2011.

LegalEase on 90.3 FM is a radio program broadcast every second Friday of the month at 11am EST from Montreal, Quebec. Originally founded by the McGill Legal Information Clinic in 1989, LegalEase is now run by a collective of progressive of law students from McGill University. Our weekly radio show deals with legal topics of interest to the community, with the intention of making the law both accessible and engaging. Tune into our show, follow us on Twitter @LegalEaseCkut, email legalease[at] or check our podcast library for past programming.

(In) Famous Cases: The Trial of Sholom Schwartzbard


France. 1927. Murder. Genocide. Justice. The Trial of Sholom Schwartzbard. A radical yiddish anarchist is a lonely parisian. Years earlier his entire family had been murdered by Ukrainian nationalists during pogroms, along with thousands of other Ukrainian Jews. In Schwartzbard’s mind, blame rested on the shoulders of the movement’s leader, Simon Petlura. So Schwartzbard killed Petlura on the streets of Paris, using a pistol. Here is Time magazine’s rendering of the trial from 1927.

Monday, Nov. 07, 1927

FRANCE: Petlura Trial

Court. In the dim court of Assizes, in Paris, during the past fortnight, more  than 400 spectators saw the beginning and the end of one of the most  gruesome, bloodcurdling, impassioned trials ever to be held in that  vaulted hall of justice. Quivering flappers sat to gasp with  astonishment beside white & black bearded Jews who exchanged shocked  glances with flat-faced Slavic Ukrainians under the noses of red &  black-robed judges. Within and without the courtroom was a triple guard  of gendarmes to prevent disorder.


Culprit. The accused man, who not only admitted committing the crime but  even boasted of it, was a young Jewish Ukrainian, now a naturalized  Frenchman, Sholem (Samuel) Schwartzbard, a watchmaker by profession.  Short, ugly, he yet commanded the attention of the whole court, for he  told his story, not as do many prisoners, shamefaced and haltingly,  forced to reveal their crimes and motives by harassing lawyers—no,  Watchmaker Schwartzbard openly confessed with gleaming eyes and  hysterical mien, his body trembling with passion, how he slew  “General” Simon Petlura to avenge the deaths of thousands of Jews slain  in pogroms, which he charged “General” Petlura instigated.


Victim. Simon Petlura, in the opinion of many, was an adventurer. The  son of a Russian cabman, he is said to have been active in plotting  against the Tsar. In 1918 he entered Kiev, capital of the Ukraine, with  the Austrian and German armies, under whose auspices he took the lead  in trying to separate that province from the rest of Russia. He not  only promoted himself a general but also declared himself ruler of  the Ukraine. He failed and was obliged to flee. Two years later he  reappeared, this time under the Poles, becoming president of a  short-lived Ukrainian republic. He played off the Poles against the  Bolsheviki and the Bolsheviki against the Poles and, eventually, again  fell from power, this time to flee to France, where he lived in Paris  until slain there by M. Schwartzbard. Under his regime, it is  charged, more than 50,000 Jews were killed.


Lawyers. Henri Torres, chief counsel for the defense, florid, bloated,  dynamic, put his histrionic abilities to the test when, leaping past  his colleagues into the middle of the courtroom, he brandished a  revolver, produced from under his voluminous black gown. Shrieks of  terror mingled with gasps met this display. Flappers sat with blanched  faces; bewhiskered Hebrews rocked back and forth with supressed  excitement; Ukrainians, more pallid than ever, glanced nervously through  their narrow eyes. Maitre Torres, aiming at a chair, pulled the  trigger—there was a dull click, followed by sighs of relief. He was  attempting to prove that M. Schwartzbard could not have shot Simon  Petlura as he lay , prone on the ground.


Cesare Campinchi, flaccid, verbose, excitable, chief prosecution  lawyer representing the Petlura family, particularly Widow Petlura, who  was in court, proved himself the equal of Maitre Torres in oratorical  and theatrical ability. Accused of suppressing evidence by M. Torres,  he roared: “Don’t accuse me of suppressing evidence, Torres!”*  “Don’t  force me to place in evidence your personal pedigree!” yelled Torres.  And thus they continued.

Crime. Simon Petlura was shot at the corner of the Rue Racine, and the  Boulevard St. Michel, on May 25, 1926. As M. Schwartzbard described the  murder to the court:

“Here’s my chance, I thought. ‘Are you Petlura?’ I asked him. He did not  answer, simply lifting his heavy cane. I knew it was he.

“I shot him five times. I shot him like a soldier who knows how to  shoot, and I shot straight so as not to hit any innocent passerby. At  the fifth shot he fell. He didn’t say a word. There were only cries and  convulsions.


“When I saw him fall I knew he had received five bullets. Then I emptied  my revolver. The crowd had scattered. A policeman came up quietly and  said: ‘Is that enough?’ I answered: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘Then give me your  revolver.’ I gave him the revolver, saying: ‘I have killed a great  assassin.’


“When the policeman told me Petlura was dead I could not hide my Joy. I  leaped forward and threw my arms about his neck.”

“Then you admit premeditation?” asked the judge.

“Yes, yes!” replied M. Schwartzbard, his face lit with fanatical  exultation.


Trial. The case opened with M. Schwartzbard telling the court in a high  pitched voice and halting French, his beady eyes gleaming, his face  suffused with joy, how he had tracked Petlura down. With a photograph  of his intended victim in his pocket and a loaded pistol in another, he  was wont to roam the street peering into the faces of passers-by to see  if they were Petlura. All this, he said, he did to avenge the  assassinations of his coreligionists. Finally, he found and killed  him.


One Reginald Smith, an Englishman, a reputed eye-witness of the crime,  was called to describe the crime. Quoting Shakespeare, he ended his  testimony by referring to Schwartzbard’s expression as Petlura fell:  “He wore an expression of ‘exaltation mixed with anguish.’ “


Many witnesses called by the prosecution declared that Petlura was not  an enemy of the Jews, but Maitre Torres insisted that “Petlura’s  proclamations expressing indignation over the pogroms were mere  blinds. While murdering Jewish men, women & children, he had to  maintain a straight face before the opinion of the world. He also  wanted money from Jewish bankers.”


“No,” said a massive Slav, “Petlura was not antiSemitic. He was a  humanitarian—a friend of the Jews.”


“No, no, no, he lies!” chorused a dozen people in the court in as many  languages.


“They cut them down with naked blades,” screamed M. Schwartzbard.


“I accuse that man of being an agent of Moscow. I swear it a thousand  times!” roared another witness for the prosecution, pointing an  accusatory forefinger at M. Schwartzbard.


“You—! You—!” yelled Schwartzbard, jumping to his, feet,  incoherent with rage, his shoulders quivering in spasmodic jerks.  Recovering his powder of speech, he continued:

“Do you remember the terrible days of 1910 and 1911 at Kiev? Do you  remember the accusations that Jews were using Christian blood for  Easter ceremonies? You hate me because I am a Jew!”

“No,” screamed the other in a high falsetto, “because you are a  Bolshevik!”

“Prove it! Prove it, then!” flung back the defiant Schwartzbard,  dropping limp, into his seat.


A squat Slav, called by the prosecution, who described himself as an  “historian, a man of letters and at present an assistant to a stone-mason,” gave evidence in Petlura’s philo-Semiticism, denying with a  grief-contorted face that the “General” had ever killed Jews or  caused them to be massacred.


“Yes! Yes! He massacred them!” shouted Schwartzbard, unnerved.


The most notable witness called, however, was Mile. Haia Greenberg,  29, a curly bobbed-haired nurse. In a soft, low voice, she told of the  carnage and rapine ordered by Simon Petlura and of the blood-bathed  home of her grandparents. Murmured she:

“I shall never forget the reddened snowsleds, filled with the hacked  bodies, going to the cemetery to desposit their sad burden, in a common  pit. They brought the wounded to the hospital— armless and legless  men, mutilated babies and young women whose screams became faint as  their wounds overcame them.”


Then breaking down and sobbing convulsively she screamed: “Oh, no, no!  I cannot go on! They are before my eyes!”


“Petlura was responsible. Even Ukrainian officers said so. His soldiers  killed our people, shouting his name. One regiment had a band and it  played while knives fell on the heads of innocent babies. Petlura could  have stopped it, but he wouldn’t listen to our pleas.”


Verdict. Amid tense excitement, after an absence of 35 minutes, the jury  returned a verdict for the young, pale faced Jew’s acquittal. Frenzied  cheering greeted the decision. M. Schwartzbard, calm, kissed his  lawyer, Maitre Henri Torres. “Vive la France!” shouted somebody. “Vive  la France!” echoed some 500 voices.


In addition to setting M. Schwartzbard free, the verdict ordered the  Petlura family, represented by Maitre Caesare Campinchi, to pay the  costs of the trial, but awarded damages of one franc each to Mme.  Petlura, widow of the slain “General,” and to M. Petlura, his brother.


The outcome of the trial, which gripped all Europe, was regarded by the  Jews as establishing proof of the horrors perpetrated against their  co-religionists in the Ukraine under the dictatorship of Simon Petlura;  radical opinion rejoiced, but the conservatives saw justice flouted and  the decorum of the French courts immeasurably impaired.


Schwartzbard, free, went into hiding, fearing assassination at the hands  of anti-Semites.


*It is customary in French courts to employ the title  “maitre,” a term of respect.