Court Refuses to Provide Section 74 Hearing Application Form

Lawyers see possible obstructing “access to justice” and “complete short-circuiting of due process.”

12 Aug 2020

6 min read

(Update Aug. 14: Adds new replies starting at No. 12.)

TheGunBlog.ca — An Ontario Court of Justice employee in Toronto refused repeatedly to provide the form to apply for a hearing under Section 74 of the Firearms Act, giving their opinion on the case and blocking access to a judge.

Following is the e-mail correspondence between Nicolas Johnson, the editor of TheGunBlog.ca, and the court clerk who didn’t give their name.

Johnson requested the form to apply for a hearing after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police sent him and 68,000 other firearm owners a letter saying their firearm-registration certificates were nullified and “no longer valid.”

Runkle: ‘Serious Concerns’

“What we have here is a complete short-circuiting of due process and the legal system,” Ian Runkle, a lawyer in Edmonton, said in a video analyzing this report. “I have serious concerns if we have people running into gatekeepers who are preventing them from bringing these applications.”


Why It Matters

  • A second lawyer who reviewed the e-mails said the court may be obstructing “access to justice.”
  • The e-mails show the challenge of seeking legal clarity on the mass gun confiscations underway.
  • Courts have gatekeepers, and the refusals may be standard court rules. We don’t know if the e-mails show proper procedure, a mistake or wrongdoing.

1

From: Nicolas Johnson
To: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
Date: Aug 6, 2020, 12:15 P.M.
Subject: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

Dear [Location Details] Court —

I’d like to please ask for your help finding a form to submit to the court:

  • Goal: Apply to a provincial court judge for a reference hearing under the Firearms Act, Section 74, on the revocation of a registration certificate.
  • Is there a link to download the form that I can share with others?
  • Where to e-mail the form once filled in?

Thank you for your consideration and assistance.

Nicolas Johnson
Toronto


2

From: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
To: Nicolas Johnson
Date: Aug 6, 2020, 1:07 P.M.
Subject: RE: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

The courthouse is not open for in person appearances right now, once the court opens you can attend the courthouse with documents from the office of the Chief firearms and we can assist in setting up a hearing. You can also contact the Firearms office and inquire . Please clarify, what documents you received.


3

From: Nicolas Johnson
To: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
Date: Aug 6, 2020, 1:11 P.M.
Subject: Re: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

Thank you for such a speedy reply.

Would you be able to send a link to the form, or send it as a PDF or other digital format? Or could I pick one up in person on paper if there is no digital form?

  • The form is to request a reference hearing with a provincial court judge. I was told it is CAO-T1.
  • The deadline to file is in two weeks.
  • It has nothing to do with the Chief Firearms Office.

New Question: If I can't get the form because the court is closed, would/could that automatically extend the filing deadline?

Yours sincerely,
Nicolas Johnson


4

From: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
To: Nicolas Johnson
Date: Aug 6, 2020, 1:17 P.M.
Subject: RE: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

Can you scan and send the documents you have please and I will look at them


5

From: Nicolas Johnson
To: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
Date: Aug 6, 2020, 1:58 P.M.
Subject: Re: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

Hi –

Sending attachment.

I believe the form I’m looking for is quite standard.

Here is the PDF to the one British Columba uses:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/law-crime-and-justice/courthouse-services/court-files-records/court-forms/criminal/pcr886.pdf

Nicolas

Attachment
(Personal Details Whited Out)

RCMP-20-July-2020-Nullification-Notice


6

From: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
To: Nicolas Johnson
Date: Aug 6, 2020, 2:19 P.M.
Subject: RE: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

There is no remedy for you at the Provincial Court level. This is not a revocation of licence but the government has now classified the weapon and prohibited and nullified your registration certificate.

The provincial court has not authority to make these orders, your options are listed on the letter supplied. You may obtain legal advice on how to proceed. This can not be done at the provincial court level .

Ontario Court of Justice E mail Snippet 1024x54 - Court Refuses to Provide Section 74 Hearing Application Form

7

From: Nicolas Johnson
To: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
Date: Aug 6, 2020, 2:28 P.M.
Subject: Re: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

Thank you for the reply.

Could I please ask: Are you a judge and is this the opinion of the court?

Or is it normal procedure that someone decides which applications are allowed to be submitted, and which applications are refused?

This is my first dealing with the court, so I don't know.

What I do know is that I’m in an unprecedented legal and regulatory situation, and would like to ask the court for clarity.


8

From: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
To: Nicolas Johnson
Date: Aug 6, 2020, 3:14 P.M.
Subject: RE: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

I am not a judge  and no legal opinions or advice offered but we are limited to the legislation that we cover.

The provincial court does not provide clarity on these matters. We are a criminal court at the provincial level.


9

From: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
To: Nicolas Johnson
Date: Aug 6, 2020, 3:19 P.M.
Subject: RE: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

Your registration has not been revoked, so no application is made to the court, your documents state that the weapon is now prohibited and it has been nullified.

You can contact Duty Counsel for legal advise.


10

From: Nicolas Johnson
To: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
Date: Aug 6, 2020, 3:34 P.M.
Subject: RE: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

Thank you for the reply and info.

I have consulted legal opinions on this, and several experts agree this is an unprecedented and unclear case with possible wrongdoing that warrants an application for a reference hearing in provincial court.

I would like to please apply for a hearing.

  • Would you be able to tell me how to proceed? I was told the Ontario Courts have a standard form, CAO-T1. But I’m not sure.

Yours sincerely,
Nicolas


11

From: Nicolas Johnson
To: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
Date: Aug 12, 2020, 10:42 A.M.
Subject: Re: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

Dear Ontario Court,

I'm resending my e-mail from Aug. 6, to again please request:

  • The form to apply for a reference hearing on the revocation of a registration certificate under the Firearms Act. (CAO-T1?)
  • Where to send it, or how to proceed after I fill it in.

Yours sincerely,
Nicolas Johnson


12

From: Nicolas Johnson
To: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
Date: Aug 13, 2020, 11:54 A.M.
Subject: Re: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

Dear [Location] Court —

This is to follow up regarding your refusal to provide the form to request a reference hearing for the revocation of a firearm-registration certificate, following the RCMP July 20 nullification notice.

Several people seem to be getting the same replies from the court.

Would you be able to say if you were given guidance or instructions to stop providing the application form?

Could you say who gave the guidance/instructions (maybe the Chief Administrative Judge?), or where I could get more information?

Yours sincerely,
Nicolas Johnson


13

From: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
To: Nicolas Johnson
Date: Aug 13, 2020, 12:15 P.M.
Subject: Re: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

I have forwarded your emails to the Deputy Crown’s office and they will respond to your inquires. I have responded with the limited knowledge I have of the new legislation, you should have a response shortly.


14

From: Nicolas Johnson
To: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
Date: Aug 13, 2020, 12:33 P.M.
Subject: Re: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

Hello,

Thank you for your help and for having forwarded my e-mail.


15

From: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
To: Nicolas Johnson
Date: Aug 14, 2020, 10:29 A.M.
Subject: RE: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

We have received confirmation from the Crown’s office that this is not the correct forum for your application as this is a Federal Legislative change.


16

From: Nicolas Johnson
To: Ontario Court of Justice [Toronto Location]
Date: Aug 14, 2020, 3:51 P.M.
Subject: Re: Request for Form to Apply for Hearing on Firearm Registration Revocation

Thank you for the reply and info.

I will decide how to proceed.


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Update Aug. 13: Adds comment by Ian Runkle.

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