Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sentences beyond the "range" can be justified depending on circumstances

R. v. Hawley, 2016 ONCA 143:

[8]          Parity in the sentencing of similar offenders who have committed similar offences is a recognized principle of sentencing:  Criminal Code s. 718.2(b).  Over time, the operation of the parity principle gives rise to ranges of sentences for similar offences committed by similar offenders.  In R. v. Lacasse, 2015 SCC 64, at para. 58, the court explained the relationship between parity as a principle of sentencing and the fitness of a specific sentence that is beyond the existing range:

There will always be situations that call for a sentence outside a particular range:  although ensuring parity in sentencing is in itself a desirable objective, the fact that each crime is committed in unique circumstances by an offender with a unique profile cannot be disregarded.  The determination of a just and appropriate sentence is a highly individualized exercise that goes beyond a purely mathematical calculation.  It involves a variety of factors that are difficult to define with precision.  This is why it may happen that a sentence that, on its face, falls outside a particular range, and that may never have been imposed in the past for a similar crime, is not demonstrably unfit.  Once again, everything depends on the gravity of the offence, the offender's degree of responsibility and the specific circumstances of each case.

Of the Law Societies of Upper Canada and Nunavut 

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