Peck and Company Lawyers Change Sentencing Law in B.C.

Earlier this year, Tony Paisana and Chantelle van Wiltenburg challenged the constitutionality of two sentencing provisions which significantly limited the availability of conditional sentences (“house arrest”).  The challenge was successful on the basis that the laws were overbroad in their scope, capturing offenders that were convicted of less serious offences and who should remain eligible for house arrest.  On the basis of counsel’s submissions, ss. 742.1(c) and (e)(ii) were declared of no force and effect.

This decision will have significant ramifications for the criminal justice system in British Columbia.  Many offenders will now be eligible for house arrest in appropriate circumstances where they do not endanger the community.  This form of sentencing is known for its positive rehabilitative effects.  A copy of the decision ruling the sections unconstitutional can be found here.

Peck and Company Client Acquitted in Drug Case

Peck and Company lawyers, Garen Arnet-Zargarian and Casandra Tam, secured an acquittal for their client on drug importation charges. The client was stopped at the Canada-U.S. Border with 13 kilograms of heroin in a suitcase in the trunk of his vehicle. At trial at the BC Supreme Court in New Westminster, Arnet-Zargarian and Tam argued that their client had no knowledge of the drugs or the fact that the suitcase was in the vehicle.

The trial judge found that the cross-examinations of the Border Service Officers “significantly diminished” the reliability of their testimony that the client’s responses or behaviour were suspicious. The client testified and explained that he did not know about the suitcase in his trunk. The judge found it plausible that another person who he had met in the States had put the suitcase in his trunk without his knowledge. The judge acquitted him on that basis.

Eric V. Gottardi, Q.C. Appointed Queen’s Counsel

On December 22, 2020, senior partner, Eric V. Gottardi, Q.C., was appointed as Queen’s Counsel, the highest honour for a lawyer in British Columbia, in recognition of his skills as a barrister and for his significant contributions to the justice system.

Eric has practiced at Peck and Company for his entire legal career, after clerking at the Ontario Court of Appeal. His practice encompasses all aspects of criminal and quasi-criminal cases, including trials, appeals, extraditions, and special prosecutions. He has argued cases at all levels of Court in Canada. As an advocate, he has achieved exceptional results for his clients and inspired monumental changes to Canada’s laws, including the cases of R. v. Jordan, R. v. Nur and R. v. Sekhon at the Supreme Court of Canada. As an expert witness before Parliamentary committees, Eric’s insight has led to positive changes to criminal laws across Canada.

Eric’s contributions to the legal profession also extend to legal education. He was the chair of the CBA National Justice Section and acts as a founding co-chair for the National CBA Annual Criminal Law conference. He is a member of the Planning Committee for the Federation of Law Societies Criminal Law Program, in addition to being a member of faculty. As a member of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, he received the Young Justice Award in 2014. Eric is the Editor of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms Newsletter for Thompson Reuters and often appears as a legal analyst for the CBC and other media outlets, as well as presenting at numerous conferences across Canada.

Peck and Company congratulates Eric on this well-deserved honour and for his continued positive influence on the legal profession in B.C. and Canada.

Peck and Company Secures Acquittal in Homicide Case

Peck and Company lawyers, Jeffrey Campbell (now Hon. Judge Campbell) and Garen Arnet-Zargarian, secured an acquittal for their client in a homicide case at the BC Supreme Court in New Westminster. Campbell and Arnet-Zargarian argued that their client was acting in self-defence when he was confronted by a larger man outside a pub in the Lower Mainland. After a two-week trial, the client was found not guilty on that basis.

Jeffrey T. Campbell appointed Provincial Court Judge

Jeffrey T. Campbell, a partner at Peck and Company since 2010, was appointed to the Provincial Court bench in Port Coquitlam, effective March 23, 2020.

Judge Campbell practiced at Peck and Company since he was called to the B.C. Bar in 1999. For 21 years, he represented persons and companies in criminal or quasi-criminal matters and also acted as a special prosecutor in several cases. In that time, he became a fixture of the B.C. Criminal Bar, volunteering as a supervising lawyer with the UBC Criminal Clinic and the UBC Innocence Project and co-founding the Criminal Defence Advocacy Society, among numerous contributions. In 2015, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel and has been a Bencher of the Law Society since 2016. Throughout his career, Judge Campbell has been a mentor to numerous students and young lawyers, who have gone on to successful careers.

Judge Campbell’s calm demeanour and commitment to his clients, his colleagues, and the legal profession helped create a lasting culture of positivity and success which the firm maintains today. Peck and Company extends its profound gratitude to Judge Campbell for his immeasurable contributions to the firm for the past two decades and a heartfelt congratulations on the beginning of his judicial career.

For more information on Judge Campbell’s career and appointment, click here.