Jeff in the Press

St. Michael's College Assault Case

Click here for an overview of the case

What kind of parent calls the police on their child?

3-Year Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Gun Trafficking Found Unconstitutional

Charges:  Gun Trafficking, Trafficking Cocaine

Allegations:  Client was selling increasing quantities of crack cocaine to an undercover police officer. Client advised officer that he could also get him a gun, but kept putting off said transfer for one reason or another. Client arrested and charged with Trafficking Cocaine and Gun Trafficking by offer, the latter of which carried a Mandatory Minimum Sentence of three years imprisonment.

Evidence/Submissions:  The court found that Client never had a gun to sell, nor did he intend to go through with the transfer. Against this backdrop, sentencing Client to such a term of imprisonment would amount to cruel and unusual punishment contrary to s. 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Reasonable hypothetical cases involving even less morally culpable accused would lead to even more grossly disproportionate sentences.

Result:  Section 99(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is unconstitutional. Client sentenced to one year instead of the three years mandated by law.

Click the links below for media coverage of the decision:

Interview in Maclean’s Magazine RE: Mandatory Minimums:

Radio interview on “Crime and Punishment” with Mike McIntyre, CJOB 680 Winnipeg: