DER Barristers caught RCMP fatal error

The RCMP seized property pursuant to a search warrant. That entitled them to hold the property for 90 days, after the 90 days it is returnable. The Criminal Code permits the RCMP to apply under s. 490(2) to extend holding the property for a longer period, but notice of that application must be served on the person/or their lawyer within the 90 days. In this case, the notice was served late. Der Barristers successfully argued to the Provincial Court Judge, who was hearing the RCMP extension application, that He did not have jurisdiction to hear the application since the notice was served late. The Judge agreed, and the RCMP application failed.
If police seize your property then immediately contact a criminal defence lawyer. DER Barristers has experience in this area of law.

Balfour Der – manslaughter not murder for Allan Shyback

A Calgary man who strangled his wife and disposed of her body after enduring what he described as years of domestic abuse has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Allan Shyback will get credit for time already served so he faces just under three more years behind bars.

Justice Rosemary Nation found Shyback guilty last spring of manslaughter and indignity to a body in the 2012 death of Lisa Mitchell in the couple’s Calgary home.

September 2017 Shybsck received a 7 year sentence.

Balfour Der – author

Did you know Balfour Der is the author of a leading criminal law textbook? Every summer Balfour spends hours revising and updating his textbook.

Balfour Der defends massage therapist against sexual assault allegations

Conditional Discharge for Teen in assault & weapon case – Lisa Burgis Der

A 17 year old teen, who after drinking magic mushroom tea and began acting strange, walked in his sock feet from a house party to a local Safeway in Lethbridge. Inside the grocery store he assaulted a woman and then went behind the deli counter and grabbed a 10″ butcher knife. He then walked out into the street into a residential area.  He was shot 3 times when he disobeyed police commands to drop the knife. The young man almost died from a bullet logged in his neck.  He also sustained injures to his right hand and thigh and his left femur was fractured. The young man lead an exceptionally well behaved life up to that point. He was extremely remorseful for his actions and the harm and hurt he caused the community. He held no animosity towards the police for having shot him.  Lisa Burgis Der successfully persuaded Judge DeBow to discharge the young man with conditions.  This was a better result than receiving probation, which the Crown argued for. The discharge with conditions closes the young man’s youth record from the authorities after 3 years from the date he entered his guilty plea and seals his youth record from ever surfacing as an adult.  Mrs. Burgis Der found this file to be very rewarding in being able to help a young man thorough an extremely difficult time in his young life.

Der Barristers represent young offenders charged with any kind of crime.  They have extensive experience in this area of criminal law.

Evade Police Hefty Penalty – Lisa Burgis Der

Calgary police arrested a man they say refused to stop his vehicle when the officer tried to pull him over on after observing him weaving, changing speeds.

The accused just wanted to get home peacefully, only a few blocks away, so he kept driving.  That was his second bad decision, his first was consuming alcohol to the point that his ability to drive was impaired.

The officer, and his back up, ended up taking down the accused at gunpoint when he tried to close the remote garage door on the officer.

Evade police officer triggers a hefty penalty.

A Case in Mistaken Identity

Jillian Williamson, Associate of Der Burgis, blogs about mistaken identity.  Ms. Williamson was successful in defending her client on the issue of mistaken identity against charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. (Names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.)


That’s not him! A Crown witness says to the Crown Prosecutor, while she sat in the gallery of the courtroom and looked at the Accused on the prisoner box.

It all began back at the Pint Pub in September 2014; a typical busy night. Except for when Mr. Hess, a patron, entered the stairwell heading downstairs to smoke he was attacked. A large black male stepped in front of him and stopped him. A second male either, Hispanic or Asian, hit him in the face with a glass of beer. The glass smashed on his face – blood went everywhere. Several people came to Mr. Hess’s aid. In all the chaos, the culprits quickly left the pub. Two men were eventually charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. Mr. Grayson, a client of Der Burgis represented by Jillian Williamson, was the man alleged to have hit Mr. Hess with the glass.

Mr. Grayson told Ms. Williamson consistently from day one of meeting that it wasn’t him: that he was not at the Pint Pub and never assaulted anyone with a glass.  His charges were set for trial.

The investigating police officer was convinced the attacker was Mr. Grayson. The video evidence showed a man who looked similar to Mr. Grayson. The man had darkish skin, about 5’ 10, and short dark hair; features similar to Mr. Grayson.

Ms. Williamson questioned the Crown’s evidence of identify by calling a witness: a friend of Mr Grayson who was at the Pint Pub that night and could say for certain that Mr. Grayson was not there.

A trial was set.  Mr. Grayson was out on bail pending his trial and went about his business waiting for trial day. And wait he did. The trial date loomed over his head and weighed on his soul. He was anxious. He was nervous. And, he knew his jeopardy was jail for assaulting a person with a weapon.

Eventually, his trial day came.  While waiting for the Judge to arrive in the courtroom,

The Crown Prosecutor approached Ms. Williamson and said in reference to Mr. Grayson the accused who was seated on the bench that’s not him! as those were the words uttered by the Crown’s witnesses to him just seconds before.

The police arrested and charged the wrong man! The police took Mr. Grayson’s fingerprints and mug shots. He lived for nearly two years under bail conditions that restricted his liberty. Mr. Grayson had to hire and meet with his lawyer several times; taking time away from work and his family.  His friends who were defence witnesses were also burdened with this process. Mr. Grayson was emotionally effected by this ordeal, an ordeal that took almost two years of his life to complete. And finally, on his day of reckoning, that’s not him were the words that lifted the weight bearing down on him.

Mr. Grayson will never get that time back. He knew that he was innocent and chose to stand up to the behemoth of the state. He chose the firm of Der Burgis and hired Jillian Williamson to fight for him. It was a very rewarding result in the end for Ms. Williamson: to have an innocent client and see him be victorious.

Innocent or guilty Der Burgis Criminal Defence Lawyers take the representation and legal issues of their clients extremely seriously and works tirelessly to achieve the desired results.

The seminal cases for mistaken identity is Steven Truscott and David Milgaard.

Jury misunderstood Reasonable Doubt

A jury convicted our client, Assmar Shlah, of second-degree murder recently. The evidence tendered by the Crown was weak at best after a seven-week trial. Our criminal law requires that guilt be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We recognize that most people don’t understand how to interpret the term “reasonable doubt”. A reasonable doubt is closer to absolute certainty than to any other standard. It is a high standard and it is meant to be high because we do not want innocent people wrongfully convicted. It is fundamentally unfair for someone to lose his or her liberty under any less of a standard.

We were and always are invested in our clients and the legal work we advance on behalf of our clients. We took it personally when Mr. Shlah was convicted. We were and are offended by this result. However, we must put our personal feelings aside and continue our fight. Why? Because, the rule of law requires us to fight. Convictions cannot be sustained when the evidence is so poor.

The appeal process has begun and we will fight tirelessly to the end, not only for Mr. Shlah, but for all our clients.

Aggravated Assault intermittent jail

R. v Wesslen, 2015 ABCA 74

Alberta has become known for imposing lengthy periods of imprisonment for serious assaults.  The federal government has impacted these types of sentences by removing discretion from our judges and by passing amendments to the Criminal Code, which remove other sentencing options such as Conditional Sentence Orders, sometimes thought of house arrest.

Balfour Der recently fought for and convinced a brave and Honourable Judge of our Provincial Court – Jurisdiction of Calgary to properly analyze the facts for an aggravated assault and impose a sentence that met all of the principles as outlined in the Criminal Code. At sentencing, the Crown Prosecutor sought a period of imprisonment for 12 to 18 months. The sentencing judge agreed with defence counsel and imposed a 90-day intermittent sentence to be served on the weekends with a lengthy period of probation to follow.

The Crown appealed the sentence. In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeal of Alberta upheld the sentencing judge’s decision. The Court of Appeal noted that the twin goals of sentencing could be achieved in the manner the sentencing judge imposed.

This decision serves as an important reminder that lengthy periods of imprisonment are not always required or appropriate sentences. The Criminal Code requires that all of the principles of sentencing be analyzed and applied in an appropriate manner.

Balfour Der and Lisa Burgis know how to research and present criminal cases. Their skill and expertise is unique. They are diligent in their work and tenacious in achieving results for their clients.