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CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES - Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Legal rights - Life, liberty and security

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 8:47 AM  


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Appeal by Romanchych from the sentence of 29.5 months’ imprisonment imposed following his conviction for possession of a loaded restricted firearm, occupying a vehicle where there was a firearm, possession of a stolen credit card, and use of another’s identification. Romanchych, suspected of driving a stolen truck, was arrested at a gas station. The truck contained a loaded handgun, credit cards which had been used fraudulently by Romanchych, and identity documents belonging to others. After being granted bail, Romanchych was re-arrested for credit card offences and for flight from police. His bail was cancelled, and he was ordered detained. In September 2015, Romanchych pleaded guilty to these subsequent charges, and he served 84 days in custody. He did not seek to be released pending his trial on the current charges. He was granted straight-time credit against sentence for time served.

HELD: Appeal allowed. Romanchych was entitled to enhanced credit for time served, decreasing his remaining sentence to two and one-fourth months’ imprisonment. The purpose of denying enhanced credit to persons whose bail was cancelled as a result of a breach of bail conditions was to enhance public confidence in the justice system, and to enhance public safety by increasing chronic offenders’ access to rehabilitation programs. Section 719(3.1) of the Criminal Code also caught individuals who committed crimes which were not serious or violent, and who were not chronic offenders. The statute was overbroad in that it unnecessarily deprived of liberty offenders who neither committed violent offences nor presented a risk to public safety. Section 719(3.1) was declared of no force and effect. Sentence: 24.25 months’ imprisonment -- Criminal Code, ss. 515, 520, 524, 719.

R. v. Romanchych, [2018] B.C.J. No. 103, British Columbia Court of Appeal, S.D. Frankel, E.A. Bennett and J.E.D. Savage JJ.A., January 25, 2018. Digest No. TLD-Feb122018003