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Cruel and Unusual-Not

OldSolduer

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Halifax Tar said:
Do we have a justice system anymore ?  Or is there a better name ?

Yes - it is the Legal Industry. I'm sure some will take offence at that.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Hamish Seggie said:
Yes - it is the Legal Industry. I'm sure some will take offence at that.

And just like any industry costs are everything......the sooner dirtbags get out the lower the costs.
 

Cloud Cover

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Listening to his lawyers- ......”  it’s a violation of life, liberty and security of the person to keep a convict in jail for more than a single life sentence. How will he have a fair chance to reintegrate if he is kept in prison for 40 years?”

I would remind people that the sentencing principles this country has in place have handed that argument to them on a platter.  We can try to hold lawyers to account but they’ve done nothing wrong here.
It is the sentencing law itself. I know this is not popular and I too would love to see him held forever, but a consultative Parliament and the people we elect to Parliament feel that this is justice.

We do not live in a direct democracy model where the people have a vote in a substantive issue except for a referendum. But we can elect people who can do better yet we choose other things as election issues rather than public safety and criminal justice.

Maybe we need to look in the mirror. This was a Conservative era law that was struck down by a Court of Appeal largely selected by Conservatives.


 

Eaglelord17

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daftandbarmy said:
Except that it's easy to get that 'death penalty thing' wrong pretty frequently, it seems:

A variety of individuals are claimed to have been innocent victims of the death penalty. Newly available DNA evidence has allowed the exoneration and release of more than 20 death row inmates since 1992 in the United States, but DNA evidence is available in only a fraction of capital cases. Others have been released on the basis of weak cases against them, sometimes involving prosecutorial misconduct; resulting in acquittal at retrial, charges dropped, or innocence-based pardons. The Death Penalty Information Center (U.S.) has published a list of 10 inmates "executed but possibly innocent".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrongful_execution#:~:text=A%20variety%20of%20individuals%20are,a%20fraction%20of%20capital%20cases.

Ok and the USA is a completely different country with completely different laws and more importantly biases. The fact that we have DNA evidence now, coupled with the staggering amount of information we can gather from videos, phones, etc., is even more in favour of having the death penalty. If you are willing to lock someone up for the rest of their lives you can put them to death. It is essentially the same thing to me. Especially in cases like this one which is very clear who the offender is and what they have done.

Brad Sallows said:
>These judges are getting it wrong.

Yes.  Sometimes judges (and juries) get it wrong.  How would you propose to compensate innocent people wrongly convicted and executed?

How do you compensate completely innocent people currently wrongfully convicted who were forced to spend the rest of their lives in jail and died in prison? It is the same thing. Maybe we shouldn't convict anyone for the slight chance they could be completely innocent.
 

YZT580

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There are two reasons behind the sentencing protocol: provide for rehabilitation and to protect the public.  A person who deliberately plans and carries out a murder for whatever reason, be it retribution, politics, religion has demonstrated through his/her actions that they cannot be trusted in society and that society deserves to be able to exist without fear of a repeat performance (I would exclude those involved in mercy-style killings of family which generally are never repeated).  Trudeau senior famously stated when the death penalty was removed that life would mean life.  He and his government ruled that the state would carry the cost of ensuring the murderer would never again have liberty: that the murderer had forfeited the right to participate in society through their actions.  The act of murder was considered heinous enough to void those areas in the charter that advocate freedom.This was the will of the people as expressed by a law passed by a majority in parliament.  The problem lies with our court system that has created an environment where an individual's personal rights and freedoms trump that of society as a whole and changing that is not possible without re-writing the constitution with regards to the role of the court.  Interestingly enough in this case the court recognized its own overreaching authority and provided for the government to re-work the law to ensure that the desired goals of protecting society and identifying an individual who had indeed forfeited his right to ever exist again in society was achieved.
 

brihard

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Eaglelord17 said:
Ok and the USA is a completely different country with completely different laws and more importantly biases. The fact that we have DNA evidence now, coupled with the staggering amount of information we can gather from videos, phones, etc., is even more in favour of having the death penalty. If you are willing to lock someone up for the rest of their lives you can put them to death. It is essentially the same thing to me. Especially in cases like this one which is very clear who the offender is and what they have done.

How do you compensate completely innocent people currently wrongfully convicted who were forced to spend the rest of their lives in jail and died in prison? It is the same thing. Maybe we shouldn't convict anyone for the slight chance they could be completely innocent.

The USA isn't that different. Their criminal law is a common law system similar to ours, with a statutory constitutional guarantee of rights. There's nothing about the way they use or collect evidence that's particularly different from us inasmuch as it affects reliability.

You're offering some red herrings here, and finishing with a reductio ad absurdum. Someone incarcerated in error can be released and compensated. Someone executed in error cannot be. THERE IS NO foolproof system that can guarantee everything is done right, and with innocent life at stake in the hands of the court, it must be 100% perfect.

DNA evidence is excellent but not foolproof. Digital forensic evidence can be excellent, but can also be extremely subjective. In any case, what you propose ultimately ends in a two tiered system where the punishment hinges not on the nature of the criminal action itself, but on the perfection of the evidence. That would fail legal scrutiny.

We need the ability to sentence people to actual life in jail. Go there until you die. While we have the dangerous/long term offender designation that allows for some indeterminate sentencing, we need the ability in a single case to say that someone's actions in one instance were so heinous that they are no longer fit to be part of society. The state cannot achieve the level of perfection necessary to be entrusted with capital punishment, so the potential recourse of release on appeal or on new evidence must remain.

Remember that EVERY person convicted has been convicted 'beyond a reasonable doubt', so the threshold is already very very high. Simply saying 'DNA! Phones! Video!" doesn't fix this. We've already seen deepfake video. Digital forensic evidence can be forged or altered. It won't be too long before DNA can be convincingly synthesized, and a person's DNA canbe obtained by 'cast offs' such as tissues in the garbage or discarded drink cups. The ability to examine and manipulate DNA is becoming more and more accessible and within probably a decade this will be something one can do in one's basement with everything needed available online. All that to say- the system is not capable of being as perfect as many think/wish/imagine it could be. Given that, the risk of executing and innocent is too high. Because for every Bisonette or Bourque there is the potential of a David Milgaard or a James Driskell.
 

FJAG

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YZT580 said:
...  The problem lies with our court system that has created an environment where an individual's personal rights and freedoms trump that of society as a whole and changing that is not possible without re-writing the constitution with regards to the role of the court.  Interestingly enough in this case the court recognized its own overreaching authority and provided for the government to re-work the law to ensure that the desired goals of protecting society and identifying an individual who had indeed forfeited his right to ever exist again in society was achieved.

I have to take exception to that.

You make it sound as if it's all the court's fault and that it will become necessary to change the constitution to rein in the court.

The problem (and I dispute that there is a problem) is that these "Individual personal rights and freedoms" are not fanciful imaginations of the "judicial system", they are the product of the "legislative system" in this case enshrined in the Charter as written by the parliament. The provision that there be no "cruel or unusual punishment" isn't something that the court made up. It was written into section 12 of the Charter under the supervision of Trudeau the 1st's Liberal government and passed by the 32nd Parliament (albeit it has a history going back to common law) when there was quite a lot of really cruel and unusual punishment going around.

The court's role is to interpret the extent to which any law is given effect; whether interpret it broadly or narrowly. It is always up to Parliament to amend the laws, or even the Charter, when it feels that the courts are interpreting the laws differently than intended.

Instead of dumping on the courts as the purveyors of stupid rulings (admittedly sometimes they happen at trial but that's why there are several layers of appeal courts) consider the fact that the outcome of what is considered a bad result most probably originates from: the poor drafting of the law by the Department of Justice which leads to absurd results; or that the government tried to pass a criminal law which skated on the border of what the Charter allows because the government didn't have the courage to change the Charter in the first place; or -- even more likely -- the result is exactly the result that the government expected even if some elements of society consider the outcome stupid.

The trouble for Canadian courts is that a large part of the public is influenced by the mostly false belief generated by conservative critics of the US legal system who are convinced that "activist judges" are usurping the power of the legislatures. There is some truth in that because there are many American legislators who pass draconian laws that facilitate narrow, usually social conservative based, agendas and that deserve striking down.

That said, Canadian legislators are much less activist and there is very little need to reign in a runaway legislature in Canada (one notable exception is some of the truly stupid legislation that came out of the DoJ for the 11 months that Vic Toews was the Minister). Most Canadian judges are progressive in that they tend to see society as an evolving entity and tend to interpret laws (especially old calcified ones) in the light of a more progressive society. This is why, for example, we have a more permissive legal attitude to abortion (which the majority of the public favours) than the Americans notwithstanding the fact that our politicians shy away from the subject like the plague.

Our judges, and the judicial system on the whole, however, do not have an agenda to subvert the will of parliament or the people. The trouble is that it's really much easier to spout morale outrage every time a headline comes out saying some criminal is being mollycoddled rather than to read the judgment and find out what the actual reasoning behind it is. That's one of the good things about our legal system. Judges actually have to write their opinions down on paper and make them public so that we can all see why s/he decided the way s/he did. You don't see politicians doing that.

:cheers:
 

Brad Sallows

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>How do you compensate completely innocent people currently wrongfully convicted who were forced to spend the rest of their lives in jail and died in prison?

It can't be done.  But to insinuate that one avenue for potential injustice should not be closed off because another one exists elsewhere is absurd.
 

YZT580

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Sorry  FJAG but the intent was not to identify activist judges, hence the reference to their own care in drafting the decision but to in that case point out that they correctly identified an error in law whereby they were forced to rule against the intent of the law even though they saw the necessity for that law to exist.  I believe though that it is the courts that initially decided that incarcerating a person beyond 25 years was cruel and unusual even though the alternative that it replaced was the death penalty.  That was and remains an activist decision and is only an interpretation defining what they believed was cruel and unusual.  The rest of us did not feel the same way at the time.
 

brihard

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YZT580 said:
Sorry  FJAG but the intent was not to identify activist judges, hence the reference to their own care in drafting the decision but to in that case point out that they correctly identified an error in law whereby they were forced to rule against the intent of the law even though they saw the necessity for that law to exist.  I believe though that it is the courts that initially decided that incarcerating a person beyond 25 years was cruel and unusual even though the alternative that it replaced was the death penalty.  That was and remains an activist decision and is only an interpretation defining what they believed was cruel and unusual.  The rest of us did not feel the same way at the time.

I don't see that the courts ruled that incarcerating someone beyond 25 years is cruel and unusual. The case at hand deals with parole eligibility. The court did not rule that the imposed 40 year parole ineligibility period was cruel and unusual; rather it ruled that it was not a sentencing option available to the judge and that the judge had erred in interpreting and applying the sentencing law the way he had- that law only allowed for multiples of 25 year ineligibility, no splitting the difference. The matter therefore returns to Parliament to decide if the Criminal Code should be amended to allow for greater periods of parole ineligibility that aren't pure multiples.
 

lenaitch

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It seems some folks want an activist bench sometimes and not others depending on how they view the outcome.  There are even odds (?) whether the Supreme Court will hear it if the Crown appeals.  On one hand, they may find that the Quebec properly interpreted the law as written; on the other hand, they may feel compelled to make a national precedent one way or the other.

"Beyond a reasonable doubt" is different than 'beyond all doubt' or absolute certainty, but that test is unavailable for we mere mortals.  Everyone convicted of a serious crime such as homicide was convicted on the best evidence available at the time.  Guy Paul Morin was convicted just as forensic DNA technology was emerging, and a two years later was acquitted based on DNA.  A few months ago, the true killer was posthumously identified.  Who knows what the future holds.  I have faith in our justice system but I don't hold it to be infallible.
 

YZT580

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The definition of a life sentence, if I recall correctly, is 25 years.  It was determined by the supreme court that anything beyond that was cruel and unusual.  Now that was many years ago and that was the activist ruling to which I was referring.  The conservatives and again I am going from memory, wanted to ensure that a Paul Bernardo could be sentenced beyond 25 years so they instituted consecutive sentences which were never imposed before: we had people serving concurrent sentences which were not the same thing at all as they all expired at the same time.  Now I am definitely not a legal type but if the court ruled against devising an in-between parole eligibility does that mean if the court were to reconvene and rule that the parole eligibility was 50 years they would have accepted it and rejected the appeal? 
 

FJAG

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YZT580 said:
The definition of a life sentence, if I recall correctly, is 25 years.  It was determined by the supreme court that anything beyond that was cruel and unusual.  Now that was many years ago and that was the activist ruling to which I was referring.  The conservatives and again I am going from memory, wanted to ensure that a Paul Bernardo could be sentenced beyond 25 years so they instituted consecutive sentences which were never imposed before: we had people serving concurrent sentences which were not the same thing at all as they all expired at the same time.  Now I am definitely not a legal type but if the court ruled against devising an in-between parole eligibility does that mean if the court were to reconvene and rule that the parole eligibility was 50 years they would have accepted it and rejected the appeal?

Let's take a quick step back in history.

Prior to 1976, the penalty for 1st degree murder for an adult in Canada was death. When Parliament abolished the death penalty, it replaced it with the mandatory penalty of life in prison with no eligibility for parole before 25 years. This by no means meant that the sentence was for 25 years. Parole has to be earned and imprisonment could easily extend beyond 25 years right up until the prisoner dies. The concept of statutory release which applies to lesser sentences does not apply for 1st degree murder. Only parole does, if earned. Parole may also be revoked if the parolee violates parole conditions or commits a new offence. For multiple murders, the sentences and parole ineligibility ran concurrently.

At some point after 1976 (and I'm not sure exactly when) Parliament introduced the "Faint Hope" provision which allowed a prisoner serving life for a single 1st degree murder to apply for parole after 15 years. No applications were available for a multiple murderer. There were very different procedures and standards related to the "Faint Hope" parole application from the standard parole applications and they were amended several times over the years.

In 2011 the law was changed to get rid of the "Faint Hope" provision and introduced the ability to have sentences for multiple murders and parole ineligibility run consecutively as described in my previous posts.

The point here is that "life sentence" means "life". Parole is a measure to allow reintegration into the community but does not mean the sentence is finished such as a sentence for a specific number of years would be. As mentioned above, parole can be revoked. In the case of a finite sentence for a given number of years and if parole or statutory release is revoked, the sentence will still end when the years are up and the individual will be released. Not with a life sentence.

As to your question, I'm not sure exactly what you are asking but here goes.

The court cannot reconvene on this case. The Court of Appeal has spoken and therefore as it stands, the accused will currently have a parole eligibility of 25 years unless the SCC changes that on further appeal. For all other trial courts in Quebec, they're bound by this ruling and, therefore, limited to giving concurrent sentences for multiple murders.

In all other provinces, the ruling in Quebec will have some weight but it is not binding and their Appeal Courts are free to decide the matter differently if they consider it appropriate. For example let's assume a man guilty of two murders might be sentenced by a judge in Ontario to two consecutive sentences of life with parole ineligibility set at 50 years. The Court of Appeal in Ontario would then not have to deal with the technical issue that the Quebec court faced (because the full 25 year multiple was used) but would be left to deal solely with the issue of whether or not the law as written infringed ss 7 and/or 13 of the Charter. The circumstances of the crime would certainly play a role in that determination. Conceivably the Ontario Court of Appeal could very well uphold the sentence. That obviously creates a discord in the law from province to province until such time as the Supreme Court weighs in on it. (Incidentally it is not unusual that there are sometimes differences of application of a given law between provinces. Sometimes it takes quite a while for the Supreme Court to adjudicate the issue).

Hope that answers your question.

:cheers:





 

lenaitch

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To be clear, Bernardo was not given consecutive sentences.  i believe he pre-dates that amendment.  He was declared a Dangerous Offender which is an indeterminate sentence (although I believe still subject to periodic review).
 

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FJAG said:
...As to your question, I'm not sure exactly what you are asking but here goes.

The court cannot reconvene on this case. The Court of Appeal has spoken and therefore as it stands, the accused will currently have a parole eligibility of 25 years unless the SCC changes that on further appeal. For all other trial courts in Quebec, they're bound by this ruling and, therefore, limited to giving concurrent sentences for multiple murders.

In all other provinces, the ruling in Quebec will have some weight but it is not binding and their Appeal Courts are free to decide the matter differently if they consider it appropriate. For example let's assume a man guilty of two murders might be sentenced by a judge in Ontario to two consecutive sentences of life with parole ineligibility set at 50 years. The Court of Appeal in Ontario would then not have to deal with the technical issue that the Quebec court faced (because the full 25 year multiple was used) but would be left to deal solely with the issue of whether or not the law as written infringed ss 7 and/or 13 of the Charter. The circumstances of the crime would certainly play a role in that determination. Conceivably the Ontario Court of Appeal could very well uphold the sentence. That obviously creates a discord in the law from province to province until such time as the Supreme Court weighs in on it. (Incidentally it is not unusual that there are sometimes differences of application of a given law between provinces. Sometimes it takes quite a while for the Supreme Court to adjudicate the issue).

Hope that answers your question.

:cheers:

A couple of questions, not to you specifically FJAG if you don’t think it fits, but more generically to the question of inconsistency between legislation and the Charter. 

Should not any legislation approved by parliament align with or support the Charter? 

Was this a case of timing, with the Charter superseding the legislation (I don’t think so, but perhaps?) this leading to conflicts needing to be resolved by courts where legislative/Charter conflict is argued and left to be addressed by that jurisdiction’s court (be it provincial or federal)? 

I would think that any legislation drafted, approved and enacted post-Charter should be consistency-checked, no?  Why would uncertainty be left in the legislative wording such that it would be understood that clarification would be required later by the courts? ???

Is it too much to ask of our Parliament to enact legislation correctly and in a manner that reinforces, not counters or conflicts with the Charter, or that if there is ‘flex’/discretion deliberately put into legislation, that the reasoning and guidelines for its use is such that there would be consistent application of that discretion?

Regards
G2G
 

dapaterson

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Certain Prime Ministers were known to push through legislation they were advised had little to no chance of surviving legal review; the importance was more on being perceived to be doing something.  A later court finding against what they knew to be unconstitutional would merely provide another opportunity to rile up their base and shake more lucre from their pockets.

I do not know the precise standard of review by Justice for proposed legislation, but they do provide privileged advice on the constitutionality.  Legal advice plus a toonie gets you a double double at Tims; there's no requirement for government to modify their proposals just because counsel advises that the proposal has a 75% of being overturned as unconstitutional.
 

lenaitch

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Good2Golf said:
A couple of questions, not to you specifically FJAG if you don’t think it fits, but more generically to the question of inconsistency between legislation and the Charter. 

Should not any legislation approved by parliament align with or support the Charter? 

Was this a case of timing, with the Charter superseding the legislation (I don’t think so, but perhaps?) this leading to conflicts needing to be resolved by courts where legislative/Charter conflict is argued and left to be addressed by that jurisdiction’s court (be it provincial or federal)? 

I would think that any legislation drafted, approved and enacted post-Charter should be consistency-checked, no?  Why would uncertainty be left in the legislative wording such that it would be understood that clarification would be required later by the courts? ???

Is it too much to ask of our Parliament to enact legislation correctly and in a manner that reinforces, not counters or conflicts with the Charter, or that if there is ‘flex’/discretion deliberately put into legislation, that the reasoning and guidelines for its use is such that there would be consistent application of that discretion?

Regards
G2G

As far as am aware, every Bill, before it is presented to the House, goes through a Charter analysis by DoJ legal staff and I believe its report accompanies the Bill on its journey.  Obviously, it is just a legal opinion and the courts may take a different view - and often do.  And, as Dataperson mentions, the elected government is free to ignore the advice.
 

FJAG

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Good2Golf said:
A couple of questions, not to you specifically FJAG if you don’t think it fits, but more generically to the question of inconsistency between legislation and the Charter. 

Should not any legislation approved by parliament align with or support the Charter? 

Was this a case of timing, with the Charter superseding the legislation (I don’t think so, but perhaps?) this leading to conflicts needing to be resolved by courts where legislative/Charter conflict is argued and left to be addressed by that jurisdiction’s court (be it provincial or federal)? 

I would think that any legislation drafted, approved and enacted post-Charter should be consistency-checked, no?  Why would uncertainty be left in the legislative wording such that it would be understood that clarification would be required later by the courts? ???

Is it too much to ask of our Parliament to enact legislation correctly and in a manner that reinforces, not counters or conflicts with the Charter, or that if there is ‘flex’/discretion deliberately put into legislation, that the reasoning and guidelines for its use is such that there would be consistent application of that discretion?

Regards
G2G

dapaterson and lenaitch were both bang on with their answers.

I'll just add a comment about the timing. The Charter preceded the current piece of legislation by several decades.

Timing isn't the issue though. The Charter supersedes regardless of when the other legislation was passed. Older legislation has mostly been resolved through the courts (or by legislatures amending the old legislation on advice by their respective justice departments) All new legislation since the Charter ought to be written to be compliant but for the reasons cited above are sometimes not done so. On top of everything else there are sometimes honestly held differences of opinion amongst the various lawyers/legal departments as to how far the impact of a particular Charter provision goes.

:cheers:
 

Blackadder1916

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lenaitch said:
As far as am aware, every Bill, before it is presented to the House, goes through a Charter analysis by DoJ legal staff and I believe its report accompanies the Bill on its journey.  Obviously, it is just a legal opinion and the courts may take a different view - and often do.  And, as Dataperson mentions, the elected government is free to ignore the advice.

As for a specific Charter analysis that accompanied this specific piece of legislation through the process, there does not seem to be such.  There probably was a thorough analysis done within the DOJ, but with a cursory look at the progress of this bill through the sausage machine of Parliament, it doesn't appear that it was made public, but I was able to find that there were questions about charter compliance made in committee.

https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/40-3/JUST/meeting-39/evidence#Int-3602780
Mr. Brian Murphy:    In answer to one of Mr. Dechert's questions, you said to make it comply with the charter. I didn't quite get the full answer on that. I assume, then, that there was a full review of this legislation for charter compliance.

Mr. John Giokas:    We always review legislation for charter compliance. It's a legal requirement on the minister.

Mr. Brian Murphy:    But what specifically was done to make this proposal charter compliant? In your answer to Mr. Dechert, I'm not sure I was clear on that.

Mr. John Giokas:    I'm not able to divulge--for obvious reasons--legal advice provided to the minister. What I can say is that it is our belief, based on advice that has been provided to the minister, that this legislation is charter compliant.

https://sencanada.ca/en/Content/SEN/Committee/403/lega/22eva-e
Senator Baker: That is exactly what would be in the indictment and the information.

I have to ask you this question because it is normal for us to ask one regarding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Bill C-48. I ask you the question, keeping in mind that the Supreme Court of Canada passed a judgment called R. v. Luxton. In that decision, the Supreme Court of Canada said that the 25 years of ineligibility for parole in a first- degree murder charge is constitutional and does not violate section 7 or section 12 of the Constitution — fundamental justice or cruel and unusual punishment.

However, in the judgment given by Justice Lamer and supported by Justice Sopinka, at paragraphs 9 and 12, the Supreme Court of Canada said:

s. 672 of the Code provides that after serving 15 years the offender can apply to the Chief Justice in the province for a reduction in the number of years of imprisonment without eligibility for parole having regard for the character of the applicant, his conduct while serving the sentence, the nature of the offence for which he was convicted and any other matters that are relevant in the circumstances. This indicates that even in the cases of our most serious offenders, Parliament has provided for some sensitivity to the individual circumstances of each case when it comes to sentencing.

That same reasoning was used to also say that section 12 of the Charter was not violated.

Without the faint hope clause and the possibility of having 25, 50 or 75 years, on what basis then do you or your department come to the determination that Bill C-48 does not violate the Charter?

Mr. Nicholson: Ultimately, it is discretionary. On that basis, I am quite sure that it will stand the test of constitutionality.

Senator Baker: Thank you.

Having a quick look at committee (Commons and Senate) transcripts, the specific question that relates to the Quebec trial judge's action was asked.

https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/40-3/JUST/meeting-39/evidence#Int-3602586
Mr. Brian Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, Lib.):  . . .  Second, would we not be better off if we gave the judge a little more discretion on the number of years? In other words, a judge might look at those two instances and consider 25 years. He might be on the borderline as to whether he wants to go 50 years. He might very easily say 35, but we have this choice between the second-degree 10 and the first-degree 25.  . . .

Mr. John Giokas:    Let me deal with the second comment first. The Criminal Code already states in section 745 that in the case of a first-degree murder, it's a mandatory 25 years, and if somebody commits another first-degree murder, it's a mandatory 25 years, and so on.
    The issue right now is that those 25 years are served concurrently. What we're doing in the case of first-degree murder is giving the judge the discretion to make the mandatory periods of 25 years consecutive. This is already set out in the code. It's also set out in section 745 that in the case of a second-degree murder, where somebody has already been convicted of another murder, whether it's first or second degree, it is also an automatic 25 years.
    So the 25-year period is already established in the Criminal Code. All Bill C-48 does is allow a judge to make the periods consecutive, based on criteria that judges are already using to make a decision that is similar in kind, namely, whether to extend a minimum 10-year sentence to 25 years in the case of a single second-degree murder.

And in Senate committee

Senator Boisvenu: . . .

I know that Mr. Murphy, I believe, asked for an amendment in the House of Commons, which would leave judges some discretion in the case of a second murder, to establish the possibility of parole after 25 years, instead of applying the 25-25.

In your view, Mr. Minister, how important is it to maintain the bill in its entirety without diluting its fundamental position on consecutive sentences?

Mr. Nicholson: I believe that possible amendment goes to the very heart of what this bill is trying to correct, namely, that you should not have a discount in this country. You should not have a lesser sentence because you have been in the business of killing other people. The idea that somehow you should receive a lesser sentence because this is your second, third or fourth murder victim goes against the concept of moral blameworthiness I talked about in my opening remarks. That is on the side of the individual who has done that.

In terms of the victims, it is intolerable and unacceptable that there be no consequences whatsoever for the individual convicted of second, third or fourth murders. We do not want to get back into this business and say, ``Well, it was only a second murder. Therefore, your additional parole ineligibility will only be a few or 10 years additional.''

I think that goes against the very heart or rationale of this bill and should be rejected.
 
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