“Supreme Court Re-affirms Sentencing Principles “admin / 0 Comments /
“Supreme Court Re-affirms Sentencing Principles “
Prime Minister Stephen Harper lost another battle to try to control the ability of the courts to use their discretion when it comes to sentencing principles. The government believes that the courts have been too lenient in the amount of time that they allow people to serve by giving people credit for time served and allowing that extra time to be used towards reducing a person’s sentence.
The Supreme Court of Canada disagreed with the government. They insist that the rules regarding this area are based on the traditions that have been established through the years. This case was based on a person that had not received bail. The decision by the court was on a unanimous 7-0 vote by the judges on the court.
This is only one of the battles that Harper has lost in trying to battle the court. There have been several other recent decisions that have gone against what the Prime Minister wanted. This includes a rebuke of the candidate that was nominated for the court by Harper. The court ruled that the nominee, Judge Marc Nadon was not eligible.
Harpers government wants to get tough on crime and wants to make sure that they appear to be that way to the public. With the defeats that they have been dealt by the court, this is becoming more difficult. This is happening despite the fact that the court is filled with a court that has had a majority of its members put into place thanks to Prime Minister Harper.
Despite the defeats by the court, Harper is convinced that he will be able to continue with his stance against crime. This will not be the last battle that is fought before the court when it comes to the rules that have put in place. The court is set to hear a case involving mandatory sentencing for violation of gun possession laws. Laws that force convicted criminals to pay a mandatory financial penalties for victim services is likely to end up before the court at some point as well.
The ruling in this case is considered a strong rebuke of Harper’s policies. The court stated that the decision by judges to grant extra credit for time served is within the sentencing principles and practices that has been established over the years of legal systems in Canada.
Justice Andromache Karakatsanis stated in his ruling that “A rule that results in longer sentences for offenders who do not obtain bail, compared to otherwise identical offenders is incompatible with the sentencing principles of parity and proportionality.”
This ruling by the court puts the ball back in the court of the Justice Minister peter McKay who must now determine whether he needs to define the circumstances that were used to give the extra time credit in a case or to rewrite the sentencing principles that are being used. It is very possible that doing this could lead to a constitutional challenge that brings the case back to the Supreme Court.
The case that was decided did not challenge the truth in sentencing law on constitutional grounds. That does not mean that this will not happen in the future as the battle for control between Harper and the court continues.