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Osgoode Professors Sossin and Young weigh in on post-G20 debate

Osgoode Professors Sossin and Young weigh in on post-G20 debate

It's always a delicate balance between protecting civil liberties and ensuring public safety, wrote the Toronto Star June 28:

This G20 summit weekend, while peaceful protests did turn violent, some believe the police – who with their sheer numbers in full riot gear – went too far, at times, in their actions, proportionately to the threat.

For Lorne Sossin, a University of Toronto law professor and incoming dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, the handling of the sound cannon struck a good balance. The police displayed it early, opponents challenged it in court and in the end a judge ruled it could be used, but only under certain conditions.

By contrast, the granting of additional police powers to detain those refusing to present identification within five metres of the fence, while approved in a lawful fashion, was not publicized, said Sossin.

"The middle ground to me is where the reasonable citizen or protester will say, this is a fair tool for the police, it may not be ideal," he said, adding when there are individuals looking for windows to throw bricks through, it doesn't seem unreasonable to search bags.

But the extra police powers expire on Monday, surveillance cameras are coming down and tapes will be destroyed after a certain time.

"It's a quintessentially Canadian approach to the legitimate demands of security, but with the enduring commitments to privacy, civil liberties and allowing dissent to happen," Sossin said.

The complete article is available on The Star's Website.

Professor Allan Young was also interviewed about the fallout from the G-20 summit in The Globe and Mail June 26:

People being tried on G20-related charges will appear in court behind closed doors: Anyone wanting to check out the proceedings will have to watch via video feed.

Having the public in the courtroom would be a security risk, court staff say. Several lawyers argue refusing the public entry undermines basic principles of an open-court system.

But Alan Young, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said making the public watch from an adjoining room isn't all that unreasonable. What's more worrisome, he said, is that authorities are anticipating such a glut of G20-related charges that they've set a special courtroom aside to deal with all of them.

“It concerns me they think there’ll be so many people they’re bringing in,” he said. “It’s sort of an overzealous approach.… It seems they’re trying to send a message.”

The complete article is available on The Globe and Mail's Website.

Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, research communications officer, with files courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.