Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan is proud to have assembled an impressive track record of successes in recent years.
While every case is unique and turns on its own particular facts, Mr. Duncan invites you to peruse the below cases for a sampling of the kinds of cases he takes on, and for a sampling of the types of results he fights for. He brings the same dedication, experience and determination to the defence of every Client that retains him.
Assault Causing Bodily Harm – Charges DROPPED – NO JAIL & NO CRIMINAL RECORD
R. v. SJJ (2014 Surrey B.C. Provincial Court)
Police attended complainant’s residence and found her with blood and bruises, alleging that Client had assaulted her by punching and kicking. Client vehemently denied the allegations, pleaded not guilty and set the matter for trial. Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan successfully persuaded Crown counsel that it was unnecessary to proceed to trial, particularly as the cross-examination of the complainant would be vigorous and would focus on various inconsistencies in statements the complainant had made to police and prosecutors. Client was prepared to admit that there had been a heated argument, that the complainant had become fearful, and he agreed that for one year, he was prepared to have no contact with her and stay away from places where she lives, works and studies. As a result, Crown counsel agreed to DROP THE CRIMINAL CHARGES, and Client entered into a restraining order (also referred to as a “peace bond” or “Recognizance”) to stay away from the complainant and to take counselling. Client, an international student studying at a major Canadian university, receives no jail and no criminal record.
Assault Allegation – Charges Dropped and NO CRIMINAL RECORD
R. v. K.B. (2014 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client accused of assaulting neighbour after a dispute centring around romantic jealousy relating to Client’s girlfriend. Days before trial, Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan persuaded Crown counsel to adjourn the trial to consider DIVERTING Client out of the criminal justice system ALTOGETHER, and to accept an apology letter and community work service, in addition to the counselling and anger management training Client had already undertaken. Client met with probation services and readily agreed to the community work service and letter of apology. After doing so, charges were DROPPED. Client receives NO CRIMINAL RECORD, which was critically important to Client’s current career as a licensed security guard and Client’s career aspirations to be a Canada Border Services Agent.
ROAD RAGE ASSAULT – Charges DROPPED
R. v. K.Z. (2014 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client charged with assault following a violent argument after a dispute over driving behaviour. Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan, along with UBC students he was supervising, negotiated with Crown counsel and obtained the Crown’s agreement, that notwithstanding the violence involved and seriousness of the conduct, it was appropriate to let the Client take responsibility and express remorse in the informal context of “alternative measures”, pursuant to which the Client was diverted outside of the criminal justice system. The client had particular concerns about the impact that a criminal record would have on him professionally and in regards to future travel to the United States, which was important to his career. As a result, the Crown dropped all charges and Client receives no criminal record and no jail sentence.
Driving While Suspended DISMISSED After Trial
R. v. S.B. (2014 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client caught driving by a police officer who had caught him on driving while prohibited on a previous occasion and charged with driving with a suspended licence. Because of Client’s previous driving history, a conviction would require the Court to impose a mandatory minimum jail sentence on Client. Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan cross-examined the officer as to numerous inconsistencies between her evidence and her notes and report, as well as within her evidence itself and argued for an acquittal. The trial judge reviewed the evidence and determined that the officer’s because of problems in the officer’s evidence, particularly portions in which she admitted to errors and gaps in her memory, he could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Client had been driving. This was despite his conclusion that the Client likely had done so. However, the Crown was unable to prove the allegation to the high standard required by the law. Client acquitted (found not guilty) and receives NO JAIL, NO DRIVING PROHIBITION and NO ENTRIES into his driving record.
Road Rage Assault with a Weapon – NO JAIL and NO CRIMINAL RECORD
R. v. J.R. (2014 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client alleged to have assaulted victim with a bat and to have damaged victim’s car with the same bat after a heated dispute over the way the victim was driving. In addition to the victim, there were three additional witnesses, including two who were independent witnesses, in that they were unknown to any of the parties. Police searched the client’s vehicle and found pieces of the broken bat that matched perfectly with pieces that were found in the victim’s vehilce.After lengthy negotiations with Crown counsel, Vancouver criminal defence lawyer Emmet J. Duncan persuaded Crown counsel to accept a plea of guilty to the assault, to drop the mischief and to support a CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE, meaning that the Client receives NO JAIL TIME and NO CRIMINAL RECORD.
Road Rage Assault Charges DROPPED
R. v. S.M. (2014 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client driver accused of getting into a confrontation with another motorist over a maneuver on the road. Client alleged to have gotten out of vehicle and eventually to have struck the other driver with a weapon before fleeing. The other motorist had arguably precipitated the confrontation with aggressive and impatient driving. Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan negotiated an agreement with Crown counsel to DROP ALL CHARGES in return for Client preparing a written apology and completing volunteer work in Downtown Vancouver. Client receives NO JAIL TIME and NO CRIMINAL RECORD.
Road Rage Assault – NO CRIMINAL RECORD
R. v. D.A. (2014 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client was involved in two motor vehicle collisions with the same individual. Tensions spilled over and eventually Client confronted the other driver, destroying some of the man’s property before threatening the man so seriously as to constitute an assault. Police breathalyzed Client at the scene and determined that he was impaired. Client has no criminal record and immediately recognized that he had made a serious mistake. He had been going through a marriage breakdown, had too much to drink and completely overreacted. With guidance from Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan, Client enrolled in anger & conflict resolution therapies and immediately stopped drinking all alcohol. Client’s professional career included frequent business travel to the United States and Client was worried that a criminal record would jeopardize access to the U.S. Client was also concerned about the consequences to his status in Canada, as he is a Permanent Resident in Canada and citizen of the European Union. Client wanted to plead guilty and take responsibility for his behaviour. Mr. Duncan persuaded Crown counsel not to seek a jail sentence, but could not persuade the Crown to support a “conditional discharge”, in which the Client could plead guilty but not receive a criminal record. Crown insisted the incident was serious enough that it required a criminal record.
In Court, Mr. Duncan presented the Client’s explanation for his behaviour, as well as his previous excellent character. He outlined the tremendous community support that Client has, as well as all the steps the Client had taken to change his life since the unfortunate incident. Mr. Duncan asked the Court to consider the extraordinary remedy of an absolute discharge, in which Client would receive no jail, no criminal record and no further conditions. The absolute discharge is the most lenient sentence a Court can impose and is very rare in cases of violence, and almost unheard of in cases of road rage.
Assault Charges DROPPED
R. v. K.N. (2014 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client accused of assaulting fellow classmate while as part of an ongoing dispute. Despite being offered the opportunity to be “diverted” out of the criminal justice system if he was willing to admit fault, write a letter of apology and perform some volunteer work hours, Client insisted on his innocence and refused to accept any “deals.” Discussions between Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan and Crown counsel were ongoing over the course of several months. Days before trial, Crown counsel interviewed a witness and after discussions with Mr. Duncan, concluded that an acquittal (not guilty finding) was the most likely outcome of a trial. Crown counsel, recognizing a duty to be fair and reasonable, agreed to DROP ALL CHARGES against Client. Client is a young man with tremendous career potential that may include opportunities in the United States. Client’s Canadian opportunities also require that he be of impeccable reputation. As a result of this outcome, Client receives no criminal record.
Spousal Assault Charges DROPPED – No Criminal Record
R. v. J.M. (2014 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client’s spouse alleged that Client had assaulted her some weeks before the complaint was reported to police. Client was arrested on a Saturday morning. Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan was successful in overcoming police reluctance to release Client by negotiating release directly with Crown counsel on the weekend.
Over the following weeks, Mr. Duncan worked closely with the spouse’s counsel as well as Crown counsel to reintegrate Client with his family, including facilitating contact with his young children, and facilitating relationship counselling, which led to progressively more integration. Mr. Duncan also worked with Crown counsel to determine spouse’s wishes on the file, which included not continuing with the prosecution, all of which led to the eventual and ultimate resolution of the file by way of the Crown dropping the charges. Client receives no jail and no criminal record.
Possession of Child Pornography – NO CRIMINAL CHARGES
R. v. A. Client (2014 Investigation)
Client brought his computer down to a local computer store for servicing after a virus / malware caused the computer to freeze. When he returned to the computer store to pick up his computer, he was met by police who advised him that the store had told police the computer contained numerous images of child pornography. Police seized all of the Client’s computer equipment and informed him that he was under investigation for possession and potentially distribution of child pornography. Client’s computer equipment contained all of Client’s important business information, including information relating to a number of trusts he managed on behalf of numerous individuals and charitable organizations. Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan persuaded the lead investigator to prioritize analysis of the computer equipment ahead of a number of other urgent investigations, and assured police they would find evidence of significant computer viruses and malware that were responsible for the placement of the unlawful images and materials. Mr. Duncan also invited police to analyze additional backup computer media to demonstrate the involuntary placement of illegal imagery. Police agreed to expedite the investigation and in less than two weeks ALL EQUIPMENT was returned to Client with NO CHARGES being laid.
Assault Causing Bodily Harm – CHARGES DROPPED
R. v. A Client (2014)
Client alleged to have assaulted an individual at a party. The individual suffered serious injuries. Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan persuaded Crown counsel, based on Client’s age and previous impeccable character, to permit the Client to prepare an apology, participate in counseling and complete community work service hours. At the conclusion, the Court DISMISSED ALL CHARGES so that Client did NOT go to jail and has NO CRIMINAL RECORD.
Cocaine, Ecstasy, Hydromorphone & Marijuana Trafficking – NO JAIL
R. v. S.O. (2014 B.C. Supreme Court)
Client’s vehicle was searched and subsequently police located what the Crown called a “mobile pharmacy” of drugs including more than two pounds of marijuana, more than an ounce of cocaine, an ounce of ecstasy, almost 800 hydromorphone pills and ketamine. Client had no criminal record and was traveling from British Columbia to Alberta. Crown counsel asked the Supreme Court justice to impose more than a year of actual imprisonment, citing the quantity, type and amount of drugs, as well as the inter-provincial trafficking component, all as aggravating features. Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan was able to persuade the Supreme Court justice that Client was young, had no criminal record and had taken significant steps towards his own rehabilitation. She agreed and she agreed to allow Client to serve his sentence in the community, meaning that client received NO JAIL TIME for the offences.
Robbery Spree – NO JAIL
R. v. L.A. (2014 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client was the “wheel man” on a spree of four daylight robberies of pharmacies in which thousands of dollars of prescription drug medications and cash were stolen by a masked man. Despite recent changes to the Criminal Code that require jail in almost all cases of this sort, Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan persuaded the Court that the Client had acted out of character and had substantially rehabilitated himself since the incidents. As a result, the Court permitted the Client to serve his sentence OUT OF CUSTODY under house arrest so that the Client spends NO TIME in jail.
Sexual Assault – NOT GUILTY After Trial
R. v. JJA (2014 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client accused of sexually assaulting a woman in her own home after returning there from a night out of heavy drinking. Client steadfastly denied any sexual assault, including during an interview with police upon his arrest. After more than a week of trial, in which Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan cross-examined nine witnesses including a DNA scientist, and after leading evidence from his client as well as one other party-goer that the Crown had declined to call as a witness, the trial judge found that the Crown’s evidence was simply not reliable and that the Client was NOT GUILTY. The case raised a number of important legal issues, including the importance and impact of the woman’s clinical therapeutic records and the effect on her evidence of certain therapies she had undergone. Client a prominent businessperson in the community with significant cross-border business interests. The result of this trial means that the Court has declared his innocence and he will have NO CRIMINAL RECORD.
Robbery, Assault and Impersonating a Police Officer – NOT GUILTY After Trial
R. v. A.S. (2013 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client accused of impersonating an undercover police officer in order to deceive a driver to pull over, before then attempting to rob the driver of his wallet, punching him at least three times in the face in the process. The assailant got away, but the police located a number of fingerprints, some of which belonged to Client, on the vehicle door, in the general area of where the driver said the assailant touched the vehicle while assaulting him. The fingerprint match led to a subsequent arrest and prosecution of client. At trial, Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan challenged the admission of the fingerprint match, on the basis that the original fingerprints, which police had taken from Client three years earlier when Client was a youth, were taken in violation of his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Mr. Duncan argued further that to allow the Crown to rely on the fingerprints in Court might perpetuate the kinds of breaches that had taken place while Client was a youth. The judge agreed, and refused to allow the Crown to lead the evidence. There was no other evidence implicating the Client, so the Court found the Client NOT GUILTY. Client receives no jail and no criminal record.
Crack Cocaine Trafficking Allegations – NO CHARGES
R. v. L.S. (2013 Drug Investigation)
Client driving her motor vehicle when caught, searched, and discovered in possession of a significant quantity of crack cocaine, hidden in her clothing. Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan was retained very early into the investigation after Client’s arrest and concluded there were potentially substantial difficulties with the original traffic stop; the search of the vehicle and the client’s person; the way the police attempted to implement Client’s right to counsel; and the (unsuccessful) attempt by the police to obtain incriminating evidence by way of a custodial interview. In discussions with Crown counsel, Mr. Duncan determined that the Crown was in agreement with many of these arguments, and that Crown agreed there were significant enough defects in the police investigation to justify a decision not to approve charges. No charges laid. No jail time. And no criminal record.
Drugs and Impaired Driving at Border – NO CHARGES
R. v. U.M. (2013 Border Investigation)
Client arrested at Canadian / United States Border and detained on investigation of importing marihuana as well as driving under the influence of alcohol. Despite the time of the day (late evening), Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan’s office successfully intervened and negotiated with Canadian Border Services peace officers and then with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to secure Client’s release with no charges, with no jail and with no criminal record.
Return of Property & Sexual Assault Investigation
R. v. C.B. (2013 Investigation)
Police raided Client’s home and seized multiple items during a search warrant execution investigating some occupants for sexual assault. Among the items seized were important computer components. Client retained Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan to negotiate the return of items as well as classification of Client as a non-suspect / target. Mr. Duncan negotiated with police sexual assault detectives and secured the release of the most important items and a commitment to release the balance in short order. Mr. Duncan also advised Client in his dealings with police so that Client officially classified as a non-suspect in the sexual assault investigation.
Internet Luring – No Jail
R. v. S.H. (2013 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client admitted to police and to the Court that he had been engaged in sexualized “chats” with a person who turned out to be an undercover police officer “posing” as a 13-year old girl. On sentencing, Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan persuaded the Court that jail was not necessary and would be counter-productive to the Client’s future rehabilitation. Client received no jail.
Stanley Cup Riot Sentence Upheld in Highest Court
R. v. A.P. (2013 British Columbia Court of Appeal & 2012 B.C. Provincial Court)
In 2012, Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan represented one of the first of the so-called Stanley Cup rioters to be charged, and one of the first to be sentenced. The stakes were very high, because although the Client was young, had no criminal record, had excellent family and community support, was employed and was a full time University student, the Crown still sought a lengthy sentence (9 months) of conventional imprisonment. The reason the Crown sought such a stiff penalty was that the Client was said to be one of the Riot’s “early instigators”, and because the Client had not only taunted police, but had “sucker punched” and thereby assaulted a citizen who, as it turns out, was trying to put fires out (though that was not known to the Client). The Crown was staunchly opposed to a “house arrest”-based sentence, or even a sentence that could be served on weekends, so as to preserve the Client’s ability to attend school. In a two day hearing dedicated to the appropriate sentence, Mr. Duncan presented lengthy arguments supporting a lenient sentence, taking the Court through numerous previous authorities, upwards of two dozen character references and a thorough and comprehensive risk assessment report prepared by one of British Columbia’s leading forensic psychologists and experts in risk evaluation.
Following those submissions, the Court disagreed with the Crown and agreed with Mr. Duncan that although the sentence must reflect the community’s intolerance for behaviour like the Client’s, and though the sentence must serve as a message to others who in the future may wish to involve themselves in such upheavals, that the principle of rehabilitation must be seriously addressed, and that it justified a more lenient sentence. The Judge imposed a 60 day sentence, to be served on Fridays-Sundays, so that the Client could continue attending school.
The Crown was disappointed with the result and decided to take Mr. Duncan’s case, along with one other, to the province’s highest Court – the British Columbia Court of Appeal – as a “test case”, inviting the Court to direct the Provincial Court judges that the sentences they had been handing down were too lenient, and that unless the offender was a youth or had a mental disability, every single rioter must go to jail.
Along with a colleague, Mr. Duncan argued the case in the Court of Appeal and was successful in winning. The Court upheld the original sentence, agreeing with submissions that Mr. Duncan’s team made, that although sentences in older riots were longer and harsher, that amendments to the Criminal Code in 1996 that were designed to reduce incarceration in favour of rehabilitation made those older cases ones which must be approached with some caution.
At the time of the appeal, the Client had in fact completed his jail sentence, and the Crown was seeking his re-incarceration. As a result of this work in the Court of Appeal, the Client’s sentence remained as is, and he continued to contribute to the community, including his Community Work Service and the restitution he paid to the owner of one of the vehicles that was lost in the Riot.
This case is now the leading case on riots in British Columbia, and in relation to the 2011 Stanley Cup Riot in particular.
Spousal Assault – Charges Dropped
R. v. A.O. (2013 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client involved in an alcohol-fueled argument with his long-term girlfriend. She alleged there was a physical assault as well. Client vehemently denied there was any physical component. Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan assisted Client in obtaining bail by including a condition not to contact the complainant. With Mr. Duncan’s assistance Client obtained counseling services and also started to attend Alcoholics Anonymous. Mr. Duncan then successfully negotiated with Crown counsel to drop the charges in favour of a restraining order, which simply continued the same conditions Client had been observing. File concluded for Client with no jail and no criminal conviction as a result of this incident.
Sexual Assault – No Criminal Record
R. v. M.M. (2013 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client met complainant after a night of drinking. The two shared a cab and after they got out of the cab the complainant alleged a serious sexual assault. Client vehemently denied any sexual assault, but admitted to trying to kiss the complainant after misinterpreting their interaction. Client plead not guilty to sexual assault, but guilty to a simple assault. Crown sought probation but a criminal record. Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan persuaded the Court that, due to the Client’s efforts at turning around his behaviour (particularly relating to drinking), a criminal record was unnecessary and could be devastating. The Court imposed no jail and no criminal record on the Client.
Sexual Assault Charges Dismissed at Trial
R. v. K.G. (2013 B.C. Supreme Court)
Client alleged to have molested his very young daughter while on a foreign cruise ship. The principal witness against Client was his wife, who had just begun preparations for separation. After an 8 day trial, during which Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan vigorously cross-examined the spouse, the Supreme Court Judge decided that it would be “dangerous” to convict on her evidence and found Client not guilty. Client received no jail and no criminal record.
Aggravated Assault Charges Dismissed at Preliminary Inquiry
R. v. A.M. (2013 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client charged in a high profile investigation with lighting another man on fire. Client maintained his innocence throughout, including in a formal police interview setting. At the Preliminary Inquiry, Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan cross-examined all of the Crown’s principal witnesses, and even though the standard for the Crown to succeed in (or “win”) a preliminary inquiry is very low, Mr. Duncan succeeded in having Client discharged. As a result, the Client was not required to stand trial, and the Court found that the evidence was insufficient to justify proceeding any further. For the Client, the result means no jail and no criminal record.
Sexual Assault Allegation – NO CHARGES
R. v. B.C. (2013 Investigation)
Client, a professional visiting Canada from another country, was involved in a sexual encounter in a well-known bar in a resort in British Columbia. The other participant alleged that the encounter was non-consensual, and the local police aggressively sought to arrest and / or interview Client, including interviewing Client in the foreign jurisdiction. Even the simple approval of charges would have had potentially devastating consequences for the Client, professionally. Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan had extensive discussions with police at all levels and then discussions with Crown counsel. Ultimately, the Crown determined that the evidence did not justify the approval of charges, and Client was cleared. No jail and no criminal record.
Grow Operation – NO CHARGES
R. v. C.K. (2013 Investigation)
Client’s home was searched pursuant to a warrant, during which police discovered a reasonably sizable grow operation. In discussions Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan had with Crown counsel, Prosecutor accepted that the Crown would not be able to prove that the Client intended to distribute (or traffic) in any of the marijuana. As a result, Crown decided to lay no charges. Client received no jail and no criminal record.
Dangerous Home Break In Charges Dropped for a Plea to Mischief
R. v. S.S. (2013 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client broke into a house nearby a hospital where Client had been admitted. Client was afraid for his life, but the homeowner mistook Client for someone who wished to rob him. Client was severely beaten by the homeowner and hospitalized, then charged with breaking and entering with intent to commit indictable offence. Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan obtained a preliminary expert opinion regarding Client’s mental state at the time of the offence, and then convinced Prosecutor that the Crown had no substantial likelihood of obtaining a conviction for breaking and entering (also known as “B & E” or “B and E”). Client plead guilty to mischief by breaking the homeowner’s window, and was released that day.
Gun Charges – NO JAIL
R. v. T.J. (2013 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client was reported to police for firing numerous guns inside his residence, including doing so while his infant was asleep in the next room. At least one of the bullets went through an exterior wall of the house and hit the wall of an adjacent residence. Client was suffering from serious emotional issues as well as a serious drug addiction at the time. Client plead guilty and with the assistance of Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan was able to avoid jail altogether.
Impaired Driving Charges Dropped
R. v. G.L. (2013 B.C. Provincial Court)
Concerned motorist called 911 to report Client’s driving, which included driving into oncoming lanes and striking and damaging numerous street signs. When police found Client, Client was passed out in a running car, which was still in gear, but up against a wall. Client failed a breathalyzer at the roadside, then unlawfully refused to give a sample at the detachment. Client was charged with impaired driving and refusal to give a sample. Because Client is a non-citizen and was in Canada on a student visa, a criminal record could lead to deportation from Canada. Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan successfully negotiated with Crown counsel to drop all criminal charges. Client received no jail and no criminal record and has been able to remain in Canada.
Impaired Driving Charges Dropped
R. v. C.L. (2013 B.C. Provincial Court)
Client involved in an alcohol-related motor vehicle collision and was arrested after displaying signs of gross intoxication. Client lied about whether Client was the driver and was charged with impaired driving and was given a 90 day administrative prohibition from driving. A few weeks later, Client was caught driving during that prohibition and lied to the police about Client’s name. Client was in Canada on a student visa and the main concern was a criminal record for impaired driving or obstruction of justice. Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan successfully negotiated with Crown counsel to drop all criminal charges. Client received no jail and no criminal record and has been able to remain in Canada.