April 23, 2020
Associate Winston Gee has told The Lawyer’s Daily that a recent decision made by the Court of Appeal for Ontario—in which a G20 protester was awarded damages due to his Charter rights being breached—is a strong endorsement of the right to protest in public spaces.
Winston’s comments come in an article that discusses the successful appeal of a previous case dismissal where a G20 protester sought damages for being forcibly restrained and having his bag searched by the Toronto Police Service (Stewart v. The Toronto Police Services Board 2018 ONSC 2785).
“The general tenor of the decision is that freedom of expression, and particularly the freedom to protest government action is one of the sacrosanct freedoms in a liberal democracy,” said Winston—who acted as a pro bono legal advisor to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, an intervener on the appeal.
“It also sends the message that when the state interferes with the liberty of law-abiding citizens like the appellant, the courts will apply an exacting standard to make sure it’s done with the proper legal authority and in accordance with the Constitution.”