Friday, April 19, 2013
R. v. Trac, 2013 ONCA 246:
 The trial judge’s error in law requires this court to determine whether, on a proper consideration of all of the relevant factors, the restitution order should be made. The inquiry begins with the purpose of restitution orders in the sentencing process. Restitution orders advance the goal of rehabilitation by promoting direct accountability by the wrongdoer to the victim. Restitution orders also promote public acceptance of and support for the criminal justice system by recognizing the specific harm done to victims and by providing a convenient and inexpensive route by which victims may gain at least some redress for that harm: see R. v. Fitzgibbon,  1 S.C.R. 1005, at pp. 1012-13; R. v. Popert, 2010 ONCA 89, 251 C.C.C. (3d) 30, at para. 38.
 However, judges must be cautious in making restitution orders. Those orders are not a substitute for private law remedies. That said, the realities of this specific case cannot be ignored. The victims seeking restitution have all suffered substantial damage to their residential properties as a result of premeditated criminal activity carried out for financial gain. In addition to the physical damage done to the victims’ properties, those properties, no doubt, suffer the stigma associated with residences that have been used in the growing of marihuana. It is accepted that the amounts claimed by the victims accurately reflect the replacement value of the property. The victims waited seven years for an opportunity to advance their restitution claim at the trial level. They have waited another three for the determination of the appeal. If patience is not to be exclusively its own reward, these claims deserve serious and sympathetic consideration.