Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Court unable to set time to pay victim fine surcharge unless Regulation absent

R. v. J.Q., 2015 NUCJ 09: 

[52] This case was before me during the Court's sitting in Pangnirtung. In the course of that sitting, several accused asked me to grant them time to pay the surcharge which Parliament had imposed on them in s. 737. It appears, however, that s. 737 gives the Court no discretion even to do that.

[53] Criminal Code Section 737(4), provides that where, as here, no fine is imposed, the surcharge is payable "within the time established by the lieutenant governor in council of the province in which the surcharge is imposed for payment of any such surcharge." Counsel, both Crown and Defence, appearing at the Pangnirtung sitting were not aware of the Nunavut equivalent of the "lieutenant governor in counsel of the province" having made any provision in response to s. 737(4). They invited me, however, for the sake of practicality, to make an order granting time to pay to the offenders upon whom liability for Parliament's surcharge fell.

[54]  In the absence of any other practical way to deal with this detail (which it appears Parliament has imperfectly dealt with) I assumed an inherent jurisdiction to do what is reasonable and just and granted the offenders 6 months to pay. 

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