Tag Archives: Ontario

Some Gin Bottles in Canada Had Double the Labeled Amount of Alcohol

Congratulations to all the Canadians who have done dumb shit while bombed on Bombay Sapphire in the past couple of months, you've just earned yourself a hell of an excuse.

You can now explain some of it away because, as it turns out, some bottles of Bombay Sapphire were a lot fucking stronger than advertised. So, if you punched your fist through that Corvette window, slept with that person at the bar you really shouldn't have slept with, or stole your neighbor's cat, well, it's now on the gin.

We know this because an investigation by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario quality assurance team found out that some of the gin was a little more ginny than it should have been.

"This recall was initiated after an investigation by LCBO Quality Assurance revealed a deviation in the stated 40 percent alcohol content by volume," reads a news release by the board. "The affected lot... has alcohol content by volume of 77 percent."

Hell yeah, that's so much more bang for your buck.

Not everyone followed that particular line of logic though—Saskatchewan, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland have all followed Ontario's lead in pulling the liquor from the shelves. Turns out having more alcohol in your drink than you advertised is, understandably, a major no-no.

Furthermore, this isn't the first time that extra-boozy booze has wound up on the shelves in Ontario. A few moths ago, the province recalled Georgian Bay Vodka because, again, it would fuck you up more than it was supposed to (the vodka, sold at 40 percent, had some bottles with up to 80 percent.)

Next time, just drink a whiskey—you can always blame it on whiskey.

Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.

How I Got Justice After My Rape Case Failed in Court

This post originally appeared on VICE Canada.

Sexual assault is a difficult crime to prosecute in criminal court. Survivors who seek justice are often left disappointed after going through what is typically a retraumatizing process. I was no exception—in my case, the Crown prosecutor withdrew the charge against the accused on the condition that he complete counseling on STIs.

It started in the back of a car with someone I had just met. One Friday night in February, we were fucking for the first time—consensually. I've always thought of myself as a responsible person, so given that we had only known each other for three weeks and were basically strangers, I made sure he wore a condom because I was scared of pregnancy and STIs. When he couldn't stay hard, he removed it.

He asked me to blow him, so I asked for another condom—he didn't understand why. He picked me up and put me on my back. I said no. He got on top of me, and I felt him slip the tip in. My gut told me I needed to remember that I said no, so I enunciated it each of the three times I said it again. No. No. No. He laughed at how scared I was. If he wanted to do it, he would've done it already. I told him I was on the pill, but I'd fucking kill him if he finished in me.

Then he raped me.

I remember my mind being completely silent when I got home. I went to the bathroom, took a scalding shower, and went to bed. I spent the weekend taking as many yoga classes as I could handle, but I couldn't erase the feeling in my stomach; something horrible and fucked up had just happened. The following Monday, I woke up and called in sick to work. Then I called my doctor.

"Hi," I whispered. "I've just been sexually assaulted, and I need to be tested for STIs."

As the initial shock gave way to panic, Google was my best friend. I was desperate to know what my other options were. One of the first results for "Sexual Assault Canada" back then was the website for the Ontario Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB), a provincial, adjudicative tribunal that hears applications for financial compensation from victims of violent crimes. It's one of eight provincial tribunals that serve to provide balanced resolutions to civil disputes.

Victims can apply for compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income, and other related expenses to the crime. It awards as much as $25,000 for single applicants, and, in cases where there are multiple victims, the maximum lump sum is $150,000 between each applicant.

I didn't really know what to expect—I couldn't find a whole lot of personal testimony about the CICB on the internet. The website made it seem easy enough: Fill out this form, wait for them to screen in the file, expect to have a hearing, and then maybe, just maybe, it'd award me compensation for the suffering I'd been through.

Having filed a statement with the police that resulted in a charge being laid against my abuser, I had access to a case worker from the ministry of the attorney general's victim/witness assistance program. She helped me complete and submit the 15-page application a few months after the assault. Once my application was found to meet the eligibility criteria, the CICB had me collect reports from my hospital, my counselors, and my employer to support my claims.

CICB asks for details about the crime, the alleged offender/offenders' information, including their address and relationship to the victim, whether or not it was reported to the police, the status of the criminal case if there was one, and details about the victim's injuries. As per CICB rules, the alleged offender/offenders are entitled to participate in the process, should they so choose—usually, they participate remotely and are not in the same room as the applicant.

Since he was a first-time offender, and let's be real, because he was white (the Crown told me that he "didn't look like the type of person who walks into courthouses all the time"), there was a low prospect of him being convicted. When the Crown told me he took an STI course so the charge was withdrawn, I felt my world close in on me as I started to sob in my case worker's office. I wasn't surprised, of course, but the weight of the disappointment and knowing that he would never be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law was almost too much to bear.

CICB waited until the criminal court aspect of my case wrapped up before they scheduled my application for a hearing. I was told that the "alleged offender" would be notified and given a copy of my file with my personal details redacted. The detective who investigated my case, and laid the charge, would be called in as a witness as well.

Although I was aware that the "alleged offender" would have the option to participate, CICB forgot to confirm that he agreed to testify despite its mandate to do so. As such, I went into that hearing unprepared, self-represented, and alone.

I learned after the fact that sexual assault crisis centers sometimes have volunteers who can accompany applicants to their hearings. Applicants can also choose to bring a friend or family member for emotional support, or if they have access to one, can hire a lawyer.

At the start of the hearing, the adjudicating members of CICB outlined how they would make their decision. In contrast to the high burden of proof in criminal court where evidence must prove a fact beyond a reasonable doubt, most civil courts like the CICB apply a lower standard called the balance of probabilities. For me, this meant that I had to "tip the scale" in my favor, and that my evidence had to prove that there was at least a 51 percent probability that I was a victim of a crime.

Although they had already read the police report and my statement, CICB members asked me to describe my sexual assault in as much detail as possible and to provide them with context around the relationship I had with the "alleged offender." I answered questions like: Did we communicate often? Did I try to push him off? How many times did we make out in his car? And what position were we engaged in when he raped me without a condom?

Testifying was excruciating. As many sexual assault survivors who have had to go through legal proceedings can attest, the process is retraumatizing. It's dehumanizing to have invasively personal questions thrown at you so that a third party can judge the validity of your experience. Recounting the details of the worst night of my life was extremely difficult, especially knowing that the man who perpetrated my trauma was listening to my every word.

Hearings at the CICB are not recorded electronically, but the board members take hand-typed notes during testimony—and the members I had were not very fast typers. I would often be interrupted and asked to slow down or repeat myself so that they could transcribe exactly what I had said. The "alleged offender" and his counsel were both given the opportunity to question me—for example: When did I know I had been raped? Why didn't I just go home? Was I on drugs?

After CICB was satisfied with my testimony, the "alleged offender" swore on the Bible to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. His testimony was wildly different than mine, going so far as to accuse me of giving him chlamydia. Words cannot describe how infuriating and insulting it is to hear your abuser use rape tropes to blatantly lie about what happened when you are 100 percent certain about what you witnessed. I knew the board had already seen my hospital records and blood work that came back healthy, and most likely knew he was making it up, but I still felt sick that someone could lack the integrity to the point of fabrication.

In the last portion of the hearing, the detective on my case testified. CICB questioned her on how consistent my testimony was with my original statement—"straight on," she said. My credibility was not the reason the charge was withdrawn, she noted. She laid the charge because she believed that it happened, and she still believed that it happened. I could have cried.

The police witness was dismissed, and CICB muted the teleconference so that they could hear about my physical and emotional injuries in private. While I had felt numb throughout the hearing, I cried while talking about the trauma out loud to a couple of strangers with what felt like my life in their hands. Articulating the extent of my emotional injuries was difficult—vocalizing it made it real.

I sat outside in the lobby while CICB deliberated on the case. After about 15 minutes, I was called back into the room to hear the members' decision, and the "alleged offender" rejoined remotely. They ruled that they believed me, and in one of the most gratifying moments of my life, found me to have been a victim of a sexual assault perpetrated by the "alleged offender." It took about two months to receive the written decision and check in the mail.

Was it worth it? No and yes. On one hand, the emotional torture of having to testify was not worth the small sum of money I got and could never undo what had been already been done to me. On the other, hearing the "alleged offender" blatantly commit a lie to public record and have him hear from a legal authority that, yes, he indeed victimized me were two of my favorite moments of 2016. For someone who had just been denied justice through criminal court, it was satisfying to have a legal body rule in my favor.

Ultimately, I think that the Ontario Criminal Injuries Compensation Board can be a benefit to survivors of violent crimes. But it's up to survivors to make their own decision. There is a long, arduous, and bureaucratic process involved in getting that compensation, and it's retraumatizing. I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a strong support network. If you have the resources to go through with it, it can be a source of validation and justice for a crime that is so rarely recognized for how awful it is.

Follow Roslyn Talusan on Twitter.

Couple Faces $1 Million Fine, Jail Time for Smuggling Highly Powerful Opioid

A 59-year-old man in Kitchener, Ontario, is facing up to a $1 million fine and 20 years in prison for attempting to export bootleg fentanyl and pentylone, another synthetic drug. Karl Morrison and his wife, 60-year-old Sorina Morrison, pleaded guilty to attempting to export the drugs from China to the US after being arrested at the US-Canadian border near Niagara Falls when crossing into Canada.

The couple had crossed into the US on October 15, 2016, to retrieve four packages sent from China containing the drugs at a PO box in New York State, bought packaging supplies, and repackaged the substance to ship it to Canada, according to the US attorney's office. When shipping packages containing 6.5 grams of furanyl fentanyl (a bootleg fentanyl product) and 500 grams of pentylone, Sorina said she was sending cinnamon butter home to Canada. Due to the high potency of fentanyl, which is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, minuscule amounts can mean the difference between a high and an overdose. A recent report claimed that two people a day die in Ontario due to opioid overdoses.

Sorina is also facing up to a $250,000 fine and three years in prison. According to court documents, the couple had told US border guards upon entering the country that they were going shopping.

"The couple discarded the Chinese shipping labels of the original packages in various garbage cans around Niagara County to cover their tracks," reads the US attorney's release. "They also obtained the name and address of an unsuspecting citizen in Niagara Falls to use as the return address on the packages they shipped to Canada, to further disguise the origin of the illegal contents." They were trying to ship the drugs to Canada, including one package that was destined for their home address.

In addition to using a random's address as the return address in their attempted drug-trafficking scheme, the couple also blamed their son, Albert, whom Karl claimed was a known drug abuser, saying that they picked up the packages for him, Global News reports.

"Albert had explained to Karl what he was having sent to the mailbox in Niagara Falls," the complaint states. "Karl Morrison said he did not understand everything his son was telling him, but that Albert said the names of the things he was sending started with 'F' and 'U."'

Karl and Sorina are set to appear in court in Buffalo, New York, in July for sentencing.

Follow Allison Tierney on Twitter.

Dad Sues Woman For Lying About Birth Control, Canadian Court Says ‘Nah’

This article first appeared on VICE Canada

The Ontario Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the mother of a child who was birthed after the father, under the impression his partner was using birth control, had unprotected sex multiple times.

According to the Canadian Press (CP), the physician father—whose name is protected along with the rest of the family under a publication ban—tried to argue that the mother of his child had committed fraud by lying about having taken birth control, only to later let him know that she was pregnant (after the two had broken up).

The court ruled Thursday that the father's claim of $4 million in damages for "emotional harm" were not valid, and that the mother was not at fault for his fathering of the child.

"I see no basis on which to impose liability on the mother for any net negative impact (he) may consider that he has suffered due to his having fathered the child," Justice Paul Rouleau said in a written statement.

CP reports that Rouleau did acknowledge that the mother had lied to the father about taking the birth control pill, but did not recognize that as a valid reason for his complaint, originally dismissing the case in January before it was once again struck down by the Court of Appeals.

"The damages consist of the appellant's emotional upset, broken dreams, possible disruption to his lifestyle and career, and a potential reduction in future earnings, all of which are said to flow from the birth of a child he did not want," the Appeal Court said, noting that acknowledging the father's claim would set an unequal precedent for parenting law.

In the court's ruling, the father's claims were described as lacking "pathological" emotional or physical harm. The father's statement against the original ruling said the unexpected child has put an emotional and financial burden on him—one that it has soured his plans to "meet a woman, fall in love, get married," and eventually have a child when the time was "right."

Folow Jake on Twitter.