Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Joint submissions entitled to careful consideration and not to be rejected unless unfit or unreasonable

R v Gibson, 2015 ABCA 4:

[9]        The sentencing judge remained unconvinced, being of the view that Gibson's driving was far more dangerous and blameworthy than that in the case law presented to him. He determined that a two-year sentence would therefore fail to meet the principle of proportionality, and on that basis rejected the joint submission. In so concluding, he was mindful that "judges should not interfere with joint submissions unless the sentence being proposed is unfit or unreasonable" (AR 79/33-34).


[10]      That is a correct statement of law. As this Court confirmed in R v Bullock,2013 ABCA 44 (CanLII) at para 18, 542 AR 280: "[a] sentencing judge must not reject a joint submission that is fit and reasonable even if he or she would impose a harsher sentence which would also be fit and reasonable". See also R v GWC2000 ABCA 333 (CanLII) at para 18, 277 AR 20R v Tkachuk2001 ABCA 243 (CanLII) at para 32, 293 AR 171. As the sentencing judge's reasons here demonstrate, he was well aware of these limitations.

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