Breana Vandebeek

Breana Vandebeek practices exclusively as a criminal appeal lawyer in Toronto and across Ontario.


Since joining Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, and Angelini, LLP, Breana has quickly established herself as a prominent and prolific criminal appeal lawyer in Toronto. She has been counsel in many leading constitutional cases and high profile criminal matters. Her practice is primarily focused in the Court of Appeal for Ontario where she has argued over 70 cases. She has appeared at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.


Breana’s commitment to social justice goes beyond her practice. Breana is a member of the Pro bono Inmate Appeal Program at the Court of Appeal for Ontario. She is a member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association and has appeared as counsel on their behalf before the Supreme Court of Canada on criminal law issues of national importance. She has also assisted with the publication of a Criminal Appeals Practitioner’s Handbook and is in the process of co-authoring another Handbook in relation to Prosecuting and Defending Drug Offences, both published by Emond Montgomery Publications. 


Breana graduated from Queen’s University Law School. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University, and a Master of Arts degree in Industrial Relations and Human Resources from the University of Toronto. Upon graduation, she began her legal career as an articling student at Alan D. Gold Professional Corporation.


She is a member in good standing at the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.


Notable Cases:


Ewert v. Canada, 2018 SCC 30: The Supreme Court of Canada addressed the use that could be made of actuarial risk assessment tool, by the Correctional Service of Canada, in the context of aboriginal offenders.


R. v. Bingley, 2017 SCC 12: The Supreme Court of Canada addressed scope of the expertise of drug 


R v Morrison, 2017 ONCA 582: The Court of Appeal struck down the reverse onus provision and the mandatory minimum sentence related to the offence of internet luring.


R. v. Sahdev, 2017 ONCA 900: The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial on two counts of sexual assault as a result of the motion judge’s failure to provide reasons on a severance application. 


R v PG, 2017 ONCA 351: A new trial was ordered. The Court of Appeal found that the reasons for judgment demonstrated that there was an appearance of bias on the part of the trial judge.


R v Barnett, 2017 ONCA 897: The Court of Appeal dismissed a Crown appeal against sentence. The Court discussed how time spent in custody in relation to one offence can be used to reduce the sentence for another offence.


R. v. Dunkley, 2016 ONCA 597: The Court of Appeal overturned the trial judge’s ruling and held that the Appellant’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure were breached. The firearm and taser located during the course of the police search was excluded. The Court discussed the law surrounding the exclusion of evidence pursuant to s. 24(2) and the concept of abandonment in relation to parked vehicles.


R. v. Moore, 2016 ONCA 964:  The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial on the charges of dangerous driving cause bodily harm and assault with a weapon on the basis that the police violated s. 10(b) of the Charter in failing to give the Appellant a second opportunity to consult with counsel in circumstances that amounted to a change in jeopardy.


R. v Ururyar, 2016 ONSC 5056: Appellant released on pre-sentence bail pending appeal where the trial judge revoked his bail following his conviction for sexual assault.


R. v. Ellis, 2016 ONCA 358: Appeal allowed in part on two charges of attempted possession of a firearm. The Court of Appeal acquitted the Appellant of one of two charges on the basis that the verdict was unreasonable. The Appellant’s sentence on the other charge was reduced as a result.


R. v. Virgo, 2016 ONCA 792: A new trial was ordered on the charge of aggravated assault. The central issue at trial was the identification of the Appellant. The trial judge erred in failing to caution the jury about the frailties associated with eyewitness identification.


R. v. McIntyre, 2016 ONCA 843: Sentence reduced from approximately eight years jail to five years jail on the charge of trafficking one kilogram of cocaine.


R. v. Wong, 2015 ONCA 657: A firearm, ammunition, drugs and illegal credit cars were excluded from evidence as a result of breaches of the Appellant’s s. 10(b) right. The Appellant was acquitted of all charges on the basis that the police failed to provide her with an opportunity to speak with a lawyer upon detention. 


R. v. Brooksbank, 2015 ONSC 5988: The appeal judge acquitted the Appellant of the charge of refuse to provide a breath sample on the basis that the trial judge failed to give adequate consideration to the fact that police did not advise the Appellant of the consequences of failing to blow into the breath device.


R. v. Crevier, 2015 ONCA 619: The Court of Appeal clarified the law “step 6” applications pursuant to the procedure set out in R. v. Garofoli. Step 6 is an analysis conducted by trial judges to determine whether search warrants which contain confidential information have been properly issued.


R. v. Micallef, 2014 ONCA 117: Sentence reduced on appeal where the trial judge “jumped” a joint position.


R. v. Strachan, 2014 ONCA 373: Sentence reduced where the trial judge failed to consider that the accused was a first time offender and failed to properly calculate presentence credit.


R. v. Houlder, 2014 ONCA 372: Sentence reduced on a conviction for robbery with an imitation firearm where the trial judge failed to properly credit time spent in pre-sentence custody.


R. v. Kelly, 2014 ONCA 380:  The appellate court found that the trial judge was wrong to draw an adverse inference against the accused for failing to disclose defence evidence of a witness’ recantation. This violated the presumption of innocence. A new trial was ordered on the charge of home invasion robbery.


R. v. Smickle, 2013 ONCA 678: Constitutional challenge to the mandatory minimum sentence for possession of a loaded prohibited firearm. The Court of Appeal struck down the mandatory minimum as being in violation of s. 12 of the Charter – cruel and unusual punishment.


R. v. Berbeck, 2013 ONCA 241:  Successfully defended a Crown appeal. Court of appeal upheld jury’s verdict of an acquittal for importing cocaine.