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CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES - Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Declaration of rights

Friday, January 18, 2019 @ 8:49 AM  

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Application by Hills for an order striking the mandatory minimum sentence of four years’ imprisonment under s. 244.2(3)(b) of the Criminal Code as unconstitutional. Hills had pled guilty to four charges, including reckless discharge of a firearm. Hills proposed a hypothetical case where a young person intentionally discharged an air-powered pistol or pellet rifle at a residence.

HELD: Application allowed. Although a four-year sentence would not result in a grossly disproportionate sentence for Hills, it was reasonably foreseeable that it would result in a grossly disproportionate sentence for other offenders. Hills’ hypothetical case was reasonable. The mandatory minimum sentence under s. 244.2(3)(b) violated s. 12 of the Charter. It was not saved by s. 1. It was not a reasonable limit to the s. 12 Charter right that was proportional to its legislative objective. The appropriate remedy was to declare that the section was of no force and effect.

R. v. Hills, [2018] A.J. No. 1379, Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, R.A. Jerke J., November 20, 2018. Digest No. TLD-January142019010