S. – Conspiracy to traffic cocaine
S. was charged with conspiring to traffic cocaine at the 10+ kilogram level. The Crown had been seeking a lengthy penitentiary sentence if S. was convicted. At trial, the Crown relied on evidence of conversations recorded by a wire-wearing police informant. Following numerous constitutional applications and a six week trial at the Superior Court of Justice, all charges were stayed.
L. – Possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking
L. was charged with the possession of two kilograms of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. The cocaine had been found in a car associated to L., parked in the parking garage of his building. Prior to trial, the defence brought an application seeking a stay of proceedings due to the Crown’s failure to preserve the building’s video surveillance footage. All charges were stayed.
O. – Production of marijuana
O. was charged with the production of marijuana for a 1000+ plant indoor grow operation. At trial, the defence challenged the validity of the search warrants, as well as raising issues related to the handling of critical evidence. All charges were stayed.
Z. – Possession of cocaine and fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking
Z. was charged with possession of fentanyl and cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. The evidence was discovered in the course of a traffic stop, during which Z. was taken from his car and searched. At trial, the defence brought an application exclude the seized drugs, arguing that Z.’s constitutional rights were breached. All charges were stayed.
G. – Impaired driving, Over 80
G. was charged with impaired driving and operation of a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration over 80 mg/100 mL. After her arrest, she was taken to the police station where she provided two samples, registering 158 and 161 mg/100 mL.
At trial, the defence brought an application seeking the exclusion of the breath samples and all police observations of her physical signs of impairment. The defence alleged that the police had violated her rights to counsel and had not ensured that the breath samples were taken as soon as practicable, as required by the Criminal.
After trial, the defence application was granted and the judge excluded all the evidence. G. was acquitted of all charges.
K. – Refusal to provide a breath sample, dangerous driving
K. was pulled over after being observed driving erratically and at a high rate of speed through a residential neighbourhood. The police officer who pulled him over claimed to have detected an odour of alcohol on K.’s breath. The officer then demanded that K. provide a sample of his breath into an Approved Screening Device. K. refused. He was arrested and charged with dangerous driving and refusal to provide a breath sample.
At trial, Solomon Friedman brought a constitutional application to exclude all police evidence, including observations made by the arresting officer. Following a two day trial in the Ontario Court of Justice, K. was acquitted of all charges.
W. – Over 80
W. was pulled over after an officer claimed to have seen him run a red light and make erratic lane changes. As the officer spoke to him, he detected an odour of alcohol on his breath. W. complied and provided a sample, registering a “Fail” on the device. W. was then arrested and taken to the police station where he was made to blow into a Breathalyzer, returning results of 160 mg/100 mL. He was charged with driving with more than 80 mg of alcohol per 100 mL of blood.
At trial, Solomon Friedman brought a constitutional application, arguing that W.’s rights to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention and unreasonable search and seizure had been violated by the officer. The application was granted and W. was acquitted of all charges.
A. – Possession of a prohibited firearm with readily accessible ammunition
A. was pulled over by the police while driving his car. The officer demanded identification from A. A. argued with the officer, at which time other officers arrived and began searching the vehicle. A loaded, sawed-off shotgun was discovered under the backseat of the car. A. was arrested and charged with possession of a prohibited firearm with readily accessible ammunition. At the time, if convicted, A. would have faced a mandatory minimum sentence of three years imprisonment.
At trial, Solomon Friedman argued that A.’s constitutional rights had been violated by the officers’ conduct. The trial judge agreed. The seized shotgun was excluded from evidence and A. was acquitted of all charges.
V. – Application to seize firearms and prohibit V. from possessing firearms
V. was a university student. He was also a licensed firearms owner and collector. Following an exam, a professor noticed that V. had written some comments in the margin of the paper. The professor found them disturbing and reported it to police. Police conducted a search warrant on V.’s home, seizing all his firearms and ammunition. An application was then filed by the Crown, pursuant to s. 117.03 of the Criminal Code to forfeit all the firearms and prohibit V. from future firearms possession.
Solomon Friedman retained the services of a forensic psychiatrist, who assessed V. and determined that he did not pose any risk to public safety. Following hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court, and ultimately, the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Crown application for forfeiture and prohibition was dismissed and all items were returned to V.
Z. – Challenge to mandatory minimum sentence – reckless discharge of a firearm
Z. was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm for firing his shotgun into the back of a moving vehicle. He faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 4 years imprisonment.
Solomon Friedman challenged the constitutionality of the mandatory minimum sentence, arguing that it was grossly disproportionate and violated the Charter guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment. After two weeks of hearings at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the judge agreed, striking down the minimum sentence and declaring the provision of no force and effect.
Once given credit for pre-trial custody and time spent on house arrest, Z. was sentenced to a further 60 days in jail, to be served on weekends.
R. v. Nur – Challenge to mandatory minimum sentence – possession of a loaded handgun
Solomon was retained by the National Firearms Association to intervene on their behalf at the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of R. v. Nur. Solomon argued that the mandatory minimum sentence for possession of a handgun with readily accessible ammunition was disproportionate and could potentially subject otherwise law-abiding firearms owners to severe consequences for mere regulatory infractions.
The Supreme Court agreed and struck down the mandatory minimum sentence, declaring it of no force and effect.
(R. v. Nur, 2015 SCC 15)
Child pornography cases
C. – Possession and importation of child pornography
C. was charged with possessing and attempting to import child pornography into Canada. If convicted, he faced a mandatory minimum sentence of one year imprisonment.
He was represented at trial by Solomon Friedman. Following a week-long trial in the Ontario Court of Justice, C. was acquitted of all charges.
B. – Sexual assault
B. was charged with sexual assault in relation to an allegation by his ex-girlfriend. She claimed that he had sexually assaulted her after they had met up for drinks.
Prior to trial, defence counsel obtained a digital copy of the complainant’s cell phone records through a series of disclosure requests. Through a forensic analysis, the defence was able to uncover records that unambiguously contradicted the complainant’s version of events. The defence also successfully obtained an order under s. 276 of the Criminal Code, allowing the defence to introduce evidence of the complainant and the accused’s prior sexual history for permissible purposes.
Following a week-long trial in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, B. was acquitted.
D. – Sexual assault
D. was charged with sexual assault.
Prior to trial, the defence successfully applied to obtain the counselling records of the complainant in relation to the incident. The records showed a number of crucial discrepancies between the complainant’s original statements and her evidence at the preliminary inquiry.
Following a two-week trial in the Ontario Court of Justice, D. was acquitted.
T. – Sexual assault, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching
T. was charged with historical counts of sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching in relation to two complainants.
Following a series of pre-trial motions, T. was tried before a judge and jury in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. After a two week trial, including detailed and thorough cross-examinations of both complainants, T. was found not guilty of all charges.
Fraud/White collar charges
R. – Bid-rigging
R. was charged in connection with an alleged bid-rigging scheme by a federal government contractor. The disclosure consisted of tens of thousands of electronic documents and records.
Following a three-week trial at the Ontario Court of Justice, including a week-long cross-examination of the prosecution’s key witness, all charged were stayed against R.
Domestic assault charges
S. – Domestic assault causing bodily harm
S. was alleged to have assaulted his girlfriend in the course of a domestic dispute at their home. He claimed that he acted in self-defence.
Following a trial in the Ontario Court of Justice, S. was acquitted.
D. – Domestic assault, forcible confinement
D.’s ex-wife alleged that he had assaulted her and forcibly confined her repeatedly throughout their marriage. The allegations arose in the context of an acrimonious custody and access dispute.
Defence counsel obtained all of the complainant’s family law filings, which were subsequently introduced at trial during her cross-examination.
The trial commenced in the Ontario Court of Justice. After day three of the cross-examination of the complainant, all charges against D. were stayed at the request of the Crown.
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