Supreme Court of Canada to rule on use of criminal forfeiture

Ottawa – On Thursday, January 17, the Supreme Court of Canada will release its decision in Her Majesty the Queen v. Alphide Manning, a case involving the seizure of a vehicle used in the commission of an offence. In its decision, the Supreme Court will decide what factors should be considered by judges when deciding whether or not to allow the seizure of such property.

Mr. Manning was sentenced to imprisonment for impaired driving. He was also prohibited from driving for five years following the end of his imprisonment. After sentencing, however, the Crown tried to seize Mr. Manning’s vehicle under the Criminal Code. The trial judge refused to allow the seizure of Mr. Manning’s vehicle – his sole asset, valued at $1000 – on the basis that it would be an excessive penalty on top of the sentence that had already been imposed on Mr. Manning.

The BCCLA is an intervener in this case and argued that courts must ensure that sentencing and seizure of property are considered together so that the total punishment imposed is not excessive. This would require a consideration of all of the facts, including the impact that seizing the property would have on the offender. This is especially important in cases, such as Mr. Manning’s, where not only Mr. Manning, but also his family, would be unfairly punished by the seizure of property.

The BCCLA is represented by Audrey Boctor of Irving Mitchell Kalichman LLP.

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

What: Supreme Court of Canada will deliver its decision in H.M.Q. v. Alphide Manning
When: Reasons for judgment will be delivered on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 6:45 am PST / 9:45 am EST.
Where: Supreme Court of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario)
Who: BCCLA representatives available for comment