Supreme Court of Canada to rule on sentencing rights of prisoners

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Ottawa – The Supreme Court of Canada will release its decision on Friday, April 11, 2014 in R. v. Carvery and R. v. Summers. The BCCLA is an intervener in the cases.

These two cases consider the ability of a trial judge to grant an offender enhanced credit for the time he or she spends in custody between conviction and sentencing.

Until 2009, judges would commonly grant an offender credit of two days for every one day spent in custody between the date of conviction and the date of sentence. Judges would grant this enhanced credit because time in pre-sentence custody does not count toward parole eligibility and generally affords an offender less access to educational and rehabilitative programs that will assist with reintegration into the community.

In 2009, Parliament passed the Truth in Sentencing Act. The Act reduced the amount of enhanced credit a trial judge could grant to a maximum of 1.5 days.

The BCCLA has long been concerned with extending periods of incarceration as punishment for criminal conduct. The BCCLA argues that the Truth in Sentencing Act should be interpreted in accordance with the values and principles developed in sentencing case law. In particular, the proper interpretation of the Act should be sensitive to the liberty interests at stake and should be aimed at determining a fit sentence that is proportionate to the offence and offender.

The BCCLA is represented by Ryan Dalziel and Anne Amos-Stewart of Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP.

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

What: Supreme Court of Canada to deliver its decision in R. v. Carvery and R. v. Summers
When: Reasons for judgment will be delivered on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 6:45 am PST / 9:45 am EST
Where: Supreme Court of Canada (Ottawa, ON)
Who: Lawyer for the BCCLA available for comment