William Folger NICKLE

NICKLE, William Folger, Q.C., B.A.

Personal Data

Party
Unionist
Constituency
Kingston (Ontario)
Birth Date
December 31, 1869
Deceased Date
November 15, 1957
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Folger_Nickle
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=a83f8a69-ff76-4167-8161-88d909e75a9c&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer

Parliamentary Career

September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
CON
  Kingston (Ontario)
December 17, 1917 - July 7, 1919
UNION
  Kingston (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 119)


July 1, 1919

Mr. NICKLE:

The amendment to section 14 provides that:

no (prisoner shall have a right to re-elect later than forty days before the day fixed for the next sittings of the court at (which trials (by jury can be had and if the prisoner was committed for trial within such forty days then not later than ten days before the day fixed for the next sittings of the court at which trials by jury can be had.

The effect of that will be that if a man is committed for trial within forty-one or forty-two days of the date fixed for the trial, he will only have forty-eight hours to elect. In many of the counties, if a man were committed in an outlying district, it would be impossible for him to come to the courthouse and elect before the forty days Bad expired. It would remove the right of election, and I would therefore beg to move that all the words after the word "had" in the fourth line be struck out and the following substituted therefor:

unless the prisoner was committed for trial within fifty days before the said date, in which event he must re-elect not later than ten days before the day fixed for the next sittings of the court at which trials by jury can (be had.

Topic:   REVISED
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July 1, 1919

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Nickle):

It is moved by the Acting Minister of Justice (Mr. Meighen) that line 13 of the section be amended, by inserting the word "or" between the words "cause" and "excuse."

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
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July 1, 1919

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Nickle):

Order.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
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July 1, 1919

Mr. NICKLE:

Of course, I cannot enforce my view on the minister, and I must bow to his judgment, but I cannot bring myself to agree with the principle that if a man happens to send to the United States and buy a pamphlet or a book even though he should prove that he knew nothing whatever about the contents of the book that he had brought into Canada for his private reading, he should be treated as criminal. Or if some person came into a oity and asked a certain man to distribute certain

literature from house to house-that is the ordinary bill poster or distributor to be found in many of our cities.-that he should be held to be a criminal simply because he entered into a contractural relationship, though he demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was not in any way endeavouring to break the law. Of course, if the principle is to secure a conviction at any cost then probably this legislation will do it. But-I have always been moved by the idea that it was wise that the benefit of the doubt should be given, and that it was better at times that those who had broken the law should be acquitted rather than that those who were innocent should be convicted, because the stigma of a criminal character is not k pleasant thing for a man to carry through life. I cannot bring myself, therefore, to agree with the reasoning of the minister, although of necessity I bow to his judgment.

Mr, McKENZIE: I wish to say to the minister on this point, and I have said it so often in this House that I am almost getting tired of it, that there must be a criminal mind before there can be a crime. It is also implied anyhow that the man does a thing knowing it to be wrong. I think we can always trust to the jury and to the judge to believe or disbelieve the accused person's plea- of not knowing. Of course, although it is provided for in the law the man may say " I did not know anything about it," but it is for the jury to believe him or not. If the judge says "you did know, you could not help knowing," and advises the jury that under the circumstances the man could not help knowing, that he was familiar with this book, and with its contents, and if the jury believe the accused did know, of course they would bring him in guilty. But I think the proper way to legislate jn a criminal matter is that if a man knowingly does a thing he is guilty, and it is for the jury to believe or not believe his plea that he did not know.

Topic:   REVISED
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July 1, 1919

Mr. NICKLE:

The amendment proposed by section 97 (b) in the second part of clause 1 makes it an offence for any person to publish, distribute or import any book, pamphlet, etc., promulgating the doctrines prohibited by section (97a). I can quite understand that it is necessary, if convictions are to be secured under this clause that there should be a presumption of knowledge, but it seems to me to be radically unfair that if a person is in a position to prove that he either printed, distributed, or imported any of this objectionable literature without having any knowledge of its contents, he should not be exonerated from responsibility or should be considered as a criminal. I would therefore, to put the argument shortly, like to suggest to the minister that to the clause there should be added a provision that no conviction should be recorded under subsection 1, 2 and 3 of clause 97 (b) if the prisoner satisfies the court that he had no knowledge that the literature contained the objectionable matter in reference to that he was charged with printing, distributing or importing. It strikes one as radically unfair that if perchance a printer printed a part of a work, the full import of which he did not understand, or somebody distributed a book the contents of which he did not know or, if somebody brought into the country a magazine without knowing the contents of it, he should stand trial and be convicted without having an opportunity of being freed under the charge if he satisfied the court that he had no knowledge of what the document contained and was really innocent in the eyes of the law.

Topic:   REVISED
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