Friday, September 6, 2013

Sentencing a corporation for criminal negligence

R v Metron Construction Corporation 2013 ONCA 541 is a very helpful decision regarding sentencing a corporation for criminal negligence causing death:

Para 46: " The sentencing judge commenced his analysis by observing that there existed only one decision, a decision of the Court of Quebec , in which a corporation had been sentenced for criminal negligence causing death..."

Para 79: "The Criminal Code offence engaged in this appeal is criminal negligence causing death. It is one of the most serious offences in the Code..."

Para 88: " pleading guilty, the respondent acknowledged that the actions of its representative, Fazilov, demonstrated a marked and substantial departure from the standard that could be expected of a reasonably prudent person. The consequence of that conduct was the death of four workers and the serious permanent injury of a fifth"

Para 90: " I agree with the appellant that a corporation should not be permitted to distance itself from culpability due to the corporate individual's rank on the corporate ladder or level of management responsibility"

Para 108: "....the sentencing judge considered himself precluded from imposing a fine that might result in bankruptcy of the corporation. In my view, this was an error. The economic viability of a corporation is properly a factor to be considered but it is not is not a condition precedent to the imposition of a fine nor does it necessarily dictate the quantum of the fine"

Para 115: " A sentence consisting of a fine of $200,000 fails to convey the need to deliver a message on the importance of worker safety...."

1 comment:

John Prince said...

"Achilles heel of these massive companies is in their articles of incorporation. Under the law, a company's articles can be revoked and it has to cease doing business. Should 'three strikes' be applied to corporations as well? Some corporations do damage. Some are persistent violators of the public trust. Perhaps three convictions (or three public interest law suits lost) should be the limit, and their corporate articles revoked."

As a lawyer Morton, please tell me why this does not happen?