Crown withdraws mid-trial after charging Windsor Lawyer with alleged masking violations.
WINDSOR: The Democracy Fund (TDF) has successfully defended Windsor lawyer Antoine d'Ailly against allegations that he failed to enforce provincial masking requirements in his law office. Mr. d'Ailly was charged in December of 2020 under the Reopening Ontario Act, which required businesses to enforce masking requirements, subject to numerous exemptions.
During the trial of November 1, 2023, the prosecution withdrew the charge against d'Ailly after a brief cross‐examination of the Crown's sole witness by TDF. The cross‐examination revealed multiple inconsistencies in the evidence of the Windsor‐Essex County Health Unit's (WECHU's) enforcement officer.
While Mr. d'Ailly implemented a policy of not demanding proof from members of the public who claimed a masking exemption, his policy was in compliance with applicable law at all times. Despite being on the right side of the law, multiple complaints were made against d'Ailly, resulting in surveillance of his law office and other enforcement measures by WECHU officers.
Mr. d'Ailly was defended at trial by TDF's Litigation Director, Alan Honner, who says the applicable regulation clearly states that a person need not provide proof of an exemption to the masking requirement. Honner insists that his client was legally and morally justified in not demanding proof of exemptions, and it was the enforcement officers who did not understand the law when they charged d'Ailly.
"Mr. d'Ailly was diligent in reviewing the law and implementing a masking policy consistent with the law," says Honner. "He should not have been charged."
Prior to the trial, TDF retained local paralegal Kristen Jarvis to bring a motion for particulars to insist that the crown identify the specific provision under which d'Ailly was being charged. Jarvis's success on that motion was critical to TDF's ultimate win at trial.
TDF believes in standing up for persons who are wrongfully charged with breaching constitutionally‐ suspect masking laws. To help us in this fight, you can make a tax‐deductible donation on this page to support our work.
About The Democracy Fund:
Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.