I represent Boris Vardomskiy, the Ottawa-area gun owner whose firearms were seized and was the subject of a s. 117.04 warrant and subsequent application. At the time of application, Mr. Vardomskiy was an active member in a local shooting club as well as a member of the NFA.
This case is being appealed by the Crown to the Ontario Court of Appeal and can have a significant effect on the manner s. 117.04 (public safety) warrants are obtained and forfeiture applications are heard in our courts. The Court will likely be asked to rule, for the first time in recent memory, on the “legitimate concern” standard.
In short, this appeal could have wide-ranging implications for how s. 117.05 hearings are conducted and the grounds upon which they are appealed.
Justice Abrams accepted my formulation of the law and his ruling – if it stands – is a good precedent for law abiding firearms users and owners.
This is important litigation for gun owners across the country.
I acted for Mr. Vardomskiy at trial. The Crown’s application was allowed by Justice Nicholas and Mr. Vardomskiy was prohibited from possessing firearms for the period of time sought by the Crown.
At that hearing, Mr. Vardomskiy testified. I also called an expert witness, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Gray.
Dr. Gray testified as follows:
(i) There is no evidence to support any psychiatric condition or disorder regarding Mr. Vardomskiy. His reactions are well within the range of normal and are expectable.
(ii) As Mr. Vardomskiy does not suffer from any mental illness, he does not require continued psychiatric treatment.
(iii) Mr. Vardomskiy does not display suicidal or homicidal intentions. He did not make specific threats on the examination paper or at any time in the past.
(iv) Mr. Vardomskiy does not present a danger to himself or others.
(v) Given the conclusions reached on the above four issues, there is no reason why it would not be desirable in the interest of public safety for Mr. Vardomskiy to possess firearms. Mr. Vardomskiy has, in the past, safely used his firearms in the legitimate hobby of target shooting. There are no risk factors to future violence to cause a public safety concern with Mr. Vardomskiy getting access to his weapons.
I represented Mr. Vardomskiy on his appeal to the Superior Court of Justice. That appeal was successful. Justice Brian Abrams, the appeal judge, found that Justice Nicholas committed a legal error by reversing the burden of proof. He also found, generally, that she considered a great deal of irrelevant evidence in arriving at her conclusion.
You can read his decision here:https://canlii.ca/en/on/onsc/doc/2013/2013onsc4113/2013onsc4113.html
In ordering a new hearing, Justice Abrams made the following comments:
The Court orders that the matter be sent back for a new hearing, before a different Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice. Having done so, in considering the factual matrix of the case before Durno, J. in R. v. Day  O.J. No. 3187, a decision of this Court, parenthetically one wonders whether the Crown can discharge the burden in this case, assuming that the same evidence is placed before the Court.
Mr. Vardomskiy has just received a Notice of Appeal from the Crown. They are appealing the Superior Court’s decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Thus far, Boris has spent well over $15,000 fighting the Crown application and arguing the initial appeal. He is a student and of relatively limited means. He has had to sell much of his gun collection to fund this litigation.
Boris has given me permission to solicit funds for his legal defence.
I am pleased to announce that we are partnering with Canada’s National Firearms Association in supporting this important litigation. The NFA is supporting the litigation in two ways:
– Canada’s National Firearms Association has made a substantial contribution to the litigation fund.
– Canada’s National Firearms Association will also be serving as a clearinghouse for individual donations.
To donate – Click here
Note: If you would like to contribute to Boris’ legal defence, you do so under the understanding that you are not creating a solicitor-client relationship with either his counsel or Edelson Clifford D’Angelo LLP in respect of this or any other matter. You are not entitled to privileged or confidential information regarding the appeal. You are not a party to the appeal. You are not permitted to direct or otherwise advise counsel on strategy. You are simply making a contribution to be used by counsel in funding Mr. Vardomskiy’s defence of the Crown appeal.