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SCC to hear case about abolition of early parole for sentenced prisoners

Ottawa – On Tuesday, October 15, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear arguments in R. v. Whaling et al. The BCCLA is an intervener in the case.

In this case, the Court will determine whether the provisions of the Abolition of Early Parole Act should be applied to people who were already serving sentences in federal prisons at the time that law came into force. The Abolition of Early Parole Act ended accelerated parole review and accelerated day parole. The practical result of applying the law to people who were already serving sentences is that they will spend more time in prison.

The BCCLA will argue that applying the Abolition of Early Parole Act retroactively – to people already serving sentences at the time the law came into force – is inconsistent with s. 11(h) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 11(h) of the Charter prevents people from being tried or punished twice for the same crime. The BCCLA will argue that this section should be given a broad interpretation that recognizes fair notice and certainty in sentencing. The BCCLA will argue that the Court should reach the same conclusion as courts in other jurisdictions: passing a law to retroactively increase the length of an inmate’s prison term constitutes punishment and is unconstitutional.

The BCCLA is represented in this case by Professor Michael Jackson, Q.C., Megan Vis-Dunbar and Joana Thackeray.

The BCCLA’s argument in this case is available here.

What: Supreme Court of Canada will hear oral arguments in R. v. Whaling
When: Oral arguments begin on Tuesday, October 15 at 6:30 am PST / 9:30 am EST
Where: Supreme Court of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario)
Who: Lawyers for the BCCLA available for comment