Friday, March 24, 2006

No Appeal of Escort Licensing Case

Alberta Justice will not appeal Justice Sullivan's ruling from last month that Doug Eastaugh was not guilty of various prostitution-related offences due to "officially induced error" - that is, he thought he was not breaking the law because he was licensed and in compliance with the City of Calgary's bylaw governing escort agencies.

Calgary Herald - No Appeal

This decision leaves the City of Calgary in a bit of a quagmire...likely requiring them to go back to the drawing board on their legislation. Previously, City officials commented that Sullivan's decision was a criminal case and that they considered the bylaw would continue to be enforced as is.

The problem with this reasoning is that there is now Court of Queen's Bench authority which by necessary implication questions the jurisdictional validity of the by-law.

If municipal legislation operates so as to nullify criminal responsibility for activity that would otherwise be caught by the Criminal Code, then the bylaw is improperly infringing on the jurisdiction of criminal law-making powers of the Federal Government.

Perhaps the true test for the City will come if escort agencies start refusing to re-new their licenses or even ask for refunds of the $3,600.00 license fees they have already paid...claiming that they cannot be made to follow an unlawful by-law.

I suppose we'll all have to wait and see where this thing goes from here.