Relevance key in introducing evidence of past sexual history

The past relationship between the complainant and the accused cannot be introduced as evidence in sexual assault cases unless it is clearly shown to be relevant, says Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb.

“There’s a very common saying that context is everything,” says Webb, principal of Melanie J. Webb Barrister. “Well, sometimes context is not sufficient, especially if you are dealing with an s. 276 application.”

Criminal trials not credibility contests

A recent decision in a sexual assault appeal is a reminder of the high bar the Crown faces to achieve a conviction in a criminal trial — proving a charge beyond a reasonable doubt, Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb tells

Beware of extortionists using #MeToo backdrop for financial gain

Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb says she has witnessed an increase in extortion attempts coinciding with the emergence of the #MeToo movement.

"I’m seeing more men who are victims of blackmail and extortion attempts," Webb, principal of Melanie J. Webb Barrister, tells "They are being wrongfully accused of sexual assault by complainants threatening to go to police or expose them to their families or colleagues. 

Decision on stayed murder charges a must-read

A decision explaining why a mentally ill man’s murder charge must be stayed because of his treatment in custody should be required reading for all members of the justice system, Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb tells

Writing a compelling, effective factum for an appeal

Writing in a compelling manner that is straight to the point is a necessary art in crafting an appellate factum, Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb tells

This is one of the top 10 tips the founder and principal of Melanie J. Webb Barrister offers on writing an effective factum for an appeal panel.

Report shows it's key to challenge scientific evidence

A report on a Toronto laboratory’s discredited alcohol- and drug-testing process shows how important it is for child-protection lawyers to closely examine, and, where necessary, challenge scientific evidence, Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb tells

U.K. extradition case instructive for Canada

Britain’s high court has made a well-considered decision in refusing to allow the extradition of an Englishman with mental health issues to face computer hacking charges in the United States, says Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb.

SCC decision brings implications for informer privilege

A recent Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision that ruled on informer privilege will have widespread implications for many criminal matters, says Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb.

Changes to sex assault laws threaten to undermine fair trial

Proposed changes to Canada's sex assault laws threaten to undermine the fair trial rights of accused people by forcing them to disclose evidence in their possession, says Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb.