Drug trafficking trial. Issue of whether 2017 amendments to s 51 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (which removed the requirement for service of certificates of analyst and notice of intention to produce them), should have retroactive application.
Held: Amendments apply retroactively.
Dineley, 2012 SCC 58, set out the applicable principles of interpretation to determine whether amendments should be prospective or retroactive. A critical distinction is whether the changes affect vested or substantive, as opposed to procedural, rights. “The ‘right’ to hope that the Crown fails to properly enter evidence, or to hope that the Crown makes fatal procedural mistakes do not amount to defences to the charges. Those are tactical matters, not matters of substance. No constitutional right is impacted by changing the manner of putting in evidence versus the consequence of that evidence. No vested rights are affected by changing purely procedural matters.” Retroactive effect appropriate.
P. Fagan– Defence Counsel