Appeal to Supreme Court of Canada


Ascendion Law represented eighteen protestors who engaged in the act of civil disobedience at the Burnaby Terminal of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Despite our efforts, the court convicted our clients. We appealed that conviction.

Unfortunately, on July 23, 2019, the BC Court of Appeal dismissed our appeal.

We argued a person must intend to insult, or "depreciate" the court to commit criminal contempt. Merely committing contempt in public does prove that someone intended to depreciate the court's authority.

The Court of Appeal disagreed. The court held that defying a court injunction in public can constitute an exclusive basis to convict someone of criminal contempt. The court concluded that publicly disobeying a court order was "reckless." Recklessness is a legal concept equating actual intention to commit an act with committing an act, knowing that the action would necessarily cause harm or danger.

We are preparing our application to the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal this decision.

This case is essential for the broader public, including our clients in the industry. The concept of recklessness has always been problematic in criminal law. The concept allows a prosecutor to secure convictions even when a person did not specifically intend to commit a crime. Pursuing an opportunity to clarify this concept benefits the broader public.

We will let you know when we receive the decision from the Supreme Court of Canada whether they will accept and hear our appeal.