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BCCLA to argue at Supreme Court of Canada for fairness in sentencing

Ottawa – The BCCLA will be appearing at the Supreme Court of Canada on Friday, January 18, 2013, to argue in R. v. Pham. This case deals with the question of what factors a court should consider when crafting a just and fair criminal sentence. Under immigration law, criminal sentences of a certain length trigger additional immigration consequences for non-citizens, including the potential for deportation.

Mr. Pham, who has lived in Canada since he immigrated as a teenager, was sentenced to two years in prison. This sentence made him eligible for immediate deportation and stripped away his right to appeal the removal order. Although the government agreed to reduce the sentence requested by one day to help avoid this result, the Alberta Court of Appeal refused to modify his sentence. As a consequence, a removal order was issued against Mr. Pham, turning a two-year sentence into deportation from Canada.

The BCCLA has long been concerned about fairness in sentencing, and believes that criminal justice can only be served if the punishment fits the crime. Sentences can only be fair if all penal consequences are taken into account by the sentencing judge. As an intervener in this case, the BCCLA argues that immigration consequences such as those faced by Mr. Pham must be part of a judge’s consideration in determining a just and fit sentence.

The BCCLA is represented by Lorne Waldman of Lorne Waldman & Associates.

The BCCLA’s argument in the case is available here >>

What: Supreme Court of Canada will hear oral arguments in R. v. Pham
When: Oral arguments before the Court begin on Friday, January 18, 2013 at 6:30 am PST / 9:30 am EST.
Where: Supreme Court of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario)
Who: Lawyers for the BCCLA available for comment