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CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES - Legal rights - Protection against cruel and unusual punishment

Monday, November 04, 2019 @ 9:04 AM  

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Application by offenders for a declaration that the mandatory five-year minimum sentence in s. 279.11 of the Criminal Code violated ss. 7 and 12 of the Charter. The offenders prepared two 16-year-old girls for escorting, but the police found them before they were exploited. The offenders were convicted of recruiting persons under 18 for the purpose of exploiting them.

HELD: Application allowed. There was no violation of s. 7 of the Charter. The purpose of s. 279.011 of the Criminal Code was to prevent human trafficking and protect vulnerable persons, especially women and children, by criminalizing a wide range of conduct aimed at exploiting them. The provision was not overly broad. There was a violation of s. 12. The mandatory minimum sentence was grossly disproportionate to the fit sentences for the offenders. The general public would not view the offenders’ preparatory conduct as warranting a five-year sentence. The provision was not justified under s. 1. There was no ability to sentence offenders with less moral blameworthiness.

R. v. Ahmed, [2019] O.J. No. 4808, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, M.R. Labrosse J., September 23, 2019. Digest No. TLD-November42019002