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Criminal and Regulatory Law

The firm’s criminal and regulatory law practice covers all Criminal Code investigations and prosecutions, as well as those under other federal or provincial regulatory statutes – for instance the Income Tax Act, Competition Act, Customs Act, Excise Act and Excise Act, 2001, Excise Tax Act, Extradition Act, Fisheries Act, Canada Elections Act, Canada Labour Code, Workers’ Compensation Act, Securities Act, Financial Institutions Act, Police Act, Gaming Control Act or Mines Act, etc. The criminal and regulatory practice also includes representing licensed individuals (e.g. lawyers, health care professionals, teachers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, motor dealers, etc.) before their respective regulatory bodies, and occasionally representing the regulated professions in disciplinary or unlicensed practice matters.

Given the firm’s other areas of practice, we are able to also provide concurrent legal representation for our clients in related proceedings whether they be in civil proceedings or before administrative tribunals and boards.

The firm’s criminal and regulatory practice is headed by Bill Smart, Q.C. and Brent Olthuis. Bill is recognized as one of British Columbia’s preeminent criminal lawyers. He has over 40 years of experience working these specialized areas of the law and has appeared in all levels of court in British Columbia and Yukon Territory, and in the Supreme Court of Canada, for both the Crown and defence. He regularly assists individuals and companies under investigation or prosecution for criminal or regulatory offences and has acted in high-profile cases such as the “Air India” trial and the Marty McSorley assault charges arising from an incident in an NHL game.

Brent has practised in the criminal and regulatory fields since his call to the bar in 2001. He was part of the special prosecution team for the Basi and Virk fraud and breach of trust charges. He also has extensive experience in criminal appeals (defence), in obtaining search and seizure orders and injunctions pursuant to the Health Professions Act, and in prosecuting contempt of court. In addition, he was external counsel to the Auditor General of Canada in respect of the audit of the Senate and has appeared as counsel in leading criminal, extradition and administrative law decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Some of the cases our counsel have litigated include:

R. v. Safarzadeh-Markhali, 2016 SCC 14: We intervened on behalf of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in a case concerning the constitutionality of legislative provisions denying enhanced credit for pre-sentence custody for certain offenders

R. v. Johnston, 2016 BCCA 3, 26 C.R. (7th) 147: Our counsel represented the appellant in one of the first appellate cases, post R. v. Hart, concerning the admissibility of a “Mr. Big” statement

M.M. v. United States of America, 2015 SCC 62, [2015] 3 S.C.R. 973: Counsel from the firm represented the intervener, British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, in this extradition case involving the application of the principle of double criminality

R. v. L.(P.E.), 2013 BCCA 542, 304 C.C.C. (3d) 512 and R. v. L.(S.C.), 2014 BCCA 336: Our counsel represented one accused in successful appeals from conviction (involving the doctrine of similar fact evidence) and from sentence (involving the principles set out in R. v. Gladue and R. v. Ipeelee concerning sentencing Aboriginal offenders)

R. v. Muller , 2013 BCCA 528, 304 C.C.C. (3d) 483: We successfully appealed from conviction based on a trial judge’s erroneous instruction to the jury concerning the exclusion of evidence

R. v. Basi, 2009 SCC 52, [2009] 3 S.C.R. 389: Our counsel successfully appealed to restore the protection of informer privilege.

R. v. Malik and Bagri, 2005 BCSC 350: Our counsel were part of the defence team providing a successful defence in the “Air India” trial