Karen Lau-Po-Hung is a partner at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross & Angelini, LLP, where she practices criminal defence. She is a trial lawyer with nearly a decade of experience and a focus on jury trials. Though she has defended nearly every criminal charge known to law, she specializes in complex prosecutions involving allegations of firearms possession and drug trafficking.
Karen’s record speaks for itself. She has won acquittals for clients in 9 contested jury trials in a row, including first and second-degree murder prosecutions. She has also won acquittals in judge alone trials, including a first-degree murder. She has argued cases at every level of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. In addition to her heavy caseload, Karen is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, where she teaches upper year students in the specialist criminal procedure course.
There is no case too minor and no charge too serious for Karen. Her approach is the same: identify the weaknesses in the Crown’s case and press the advantage to secure the best result. In minor cases, she is often able to persuade the Crown to withdraw the charge outright, without the need for the stress or expense of a trial. This approach has also yielded successful results in the most serious cases. In 2021 alone, Karen’s resolute advocacy resulted in the Crown dropping two separate first-degree murder cases against her clients.
Usually, Karen’s first contact with a client is at the bail stage. After an arrest, it is critical to quickly retain the right counsel to restore your freedom and begin working on your defence. Karen has successfully secured release for clients in hundreds of prior cases and has experience with the most challenging and complicated bail hearings including cases of homicide, drug trafficking and discharge firearm.
Every case is different, and of course Karen cannot guarantee any particular result. To learn more about how she can defend your case, write or call today to arrange a consultation.
Here are those summaries of Karen’s jury trial wins:
R v JB
Charges: Possession of a Prohibited Loaded Firearm
The facts: The police executed a search warrant in Mr. JB’s home. A loaded firearm equipped with a laser and oversized magazine (with 15 rounds of ammunition) was found in a room with Mr. JB’s belongings. It was clear that room was primarily occupied and utilized by JB, but Ms. Lau-Po-Hung demonstrated others had access, too, and the firearm could well have belonged to one of them.
R v AH
Charges: Importing Cocaine
The facts: Mr. AH was stopped and searched at Pearson International Airport upon returning to Canada from Jamaica. Border officials found multiple kilograms of cocaine hidden in jars inside his luggage. Ms.Lau-Po-Hung demonstrated that Mr. AH had no knowledge of this cocaine and had been used as a ‘blind mule’ by certain family members.
R v SM
Charges: Robbery and Theft Over
The facts: Ms. SM was charged for an ‘inside job’ bank robbery where it was alleged that she opened the bank’s safe prior to her boyfriend attending the bank. The prosecution introduced video surveillance showing SM setting the timer 20 secs prior to her boyfriend entering in disguise. The issue was knowledge – whether SM was aware of her boyfriend’s intentions or even that it was him in the disguise. SM testified as to why she had legitimately opened the safe earlier.
Results:Acquitted of the Robbery Charge; ‘Hung Jury’ on the Theft Charge
R v FA
Charges: First Degree Murder (Co-Counsel with Partner Tyler MacDonald)
The facts: Mr. FA was alleged to be the shooter in a broad daylight shooting on a busy road at rush hour in Toronto. According to all witnesses, the shooter came out of an SUV, walked up to the victim’s vehicle that was stopped at a red light, shot and killed the driver and severely injured the passenger. Video surveillance showed FA in the SUV. The driver of the SUV testified against FA blaming FA for the shooting. Surveillance also showed the movements of FA before and after the shooting – he had changed his clothing. Ms. Lau-Po-Hung spent months combing through the disclosure to find a series of facts that demonstrate to the jury a third party was the real shooter.
R v JW
Charges: Trafficking Heroin
The facts: JW was charged with trafficking heroin to an undercover police officer. Ms. Lau-Po-Hung was able to demonstrate to the jury that the undercover police officer and other members of the Toronto Drug Squad were being untruthful. Ms. Lau-Po-Hung called JW to testify to explain that he was in fact selling marihuana and that he was at the scene to collect money from someone else. The jury believed JW.
Result: Acquitted of Trafficking Heroin
R v TM
Charges: Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm
The facts: TM was convicted of dangerous driving at his first trial (Ms. Lau-Po-Hung was not counsel), after the Court of Appeal overturned the conviction, TM hired Ms. Lau-Po-Hung. The charges arose out of a road rage incident – TM decided he would cut into a long line of traffic which caused the victim to yell at him. TM and the victim went back and forth a bit and found themselves in a plaza arguing. When the victim got out of his car to confront TM, TM ran him over causing the victim to break his orbital bone among, other injuries. When TM got out of the car, he noticed the victim’s shoes had fallen off – he retrieved it and yelled at the victim, ”that’s what you get when you f— with me.” TM testified that he was afraid and tried to reverse but the victim was still coming at him, he had no reasonable alternative.. Ms. Lau-Po-Hung was able to successfully argue self-defence and necessity – she explained to the jury why TM acted the way he did and was able to demonstrate through cross-examination all the faults and errors of the expert witness and his report. She also cross-examined the complainant and a passenger in his vehicle to show that they were clearly the aggressors and looking for a fight. She was able to demonstrate all the inconsistencies and lies that the complainant told the jury in his initial testimony.
R v DC
Charges: Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Cocaine and Possession of Proceeds of Crime
The facts: DC was found alleged to have been found possession of a large amount of cocaine, drug paraphernalia, money and multiple cellphones when police arrived at his home. Ms. Lau-Po-Hung called her client to explain that he was simply a drug user and that his dealer ditched his stash and escaped as the police approached. DC was cross-examined at length that there was no other person who could have seen the approach of the police and fled. Ms. Lau-Po-Hung called evidence that showed it was completely possible.
R v RB
Charge: Second Degree Murder
The facts: RB, along with three other co-accused, were alleged to have stabbed and beat a man to death in a parking lot of an apartment complex. The three co-accused all pointed the finger at RB suggesting that he was the principle culprit and that they had no idea he was going to stab the victim. To complicate matters, RB’s DNA was found under the victim’s fingernails. Ms. Lau-Po-Hung anddefence lawyer David Bayliss were able to demonstrate that, in fact, it was another co-accused who was responsible for the stabbing. The defence was able to show through cross-examining multiple witnesses that RB did not match the description of the stabber, that RB did not participate in the stabbing, and that the three other accused blamed RB because he was of different race and not part of their community.
Result: RB Acquitted
Karen has also conducted and secured acquittals in judge alone trials, negotiated numerous withdrawals of charges and won stays of their charges for Charter violations.
She has conducted countless bails hearings, securing release for clients who have been charged with the most serious offences. Below are a few examples of cases she recently secured release for:
- R v SC: First-degree murder
- R v LW: Conspiracy to commit murder
- R v MH: Firearms and drug offences
- R v JT: Firearms
- R v FO: Discharge Firearm
- R v RB: Aggravated assault, extortion, discharge firearm, firearms
- R v MR: Firearms including point firearm
- R v AA: Firearm & trafficking drugs
- R v AA: Firearm charges
- R v EB: Robbery with firearm
- R v IM: Trafficking drugs
- R v II: Importing drugs
- R v SN: Trafficking drugs
- R v TT: Trafficking cocaine
- R v BF: Trafficking cocaine
- R v G: Trafficking fentanyl and point firearm
- R v AB: Cocaine charges
- R v AP: Trafficking cocaine
- R v SF: Human trafficking
- R v AG: Break and enter
- R v JB: Aggravated assault (stabbing)
- R v HB: Aggravated assault (stabbing)
- R v OK: Robbery
- R v AH: Fraud
- R v RF: Dangerous driving, Flight from police
You can reach Ms. Lau-Po Hung by way of her direct telephone line at (416) 598-5745 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Ms. Lau-Po-Hung, visit www.lphlaw.ca