Friday, June 12, 2009

Unleash the Lawyers

Who makes up the Canadian Bar Association and what is their mission?

"The CBA is dedicated to improvement in the law, the administration of justice, and support for the rule of law. Some 38,000 lawyers, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members."

So, what does the Canadian Bar Association think of Bill C-15?

"The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) opposes the passage of Bill C-15, amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, because it would create a complicated system of escalating mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related offences that would not be an effective deterrent to crime.

“The CBA suggests that public safety concerns can be met with existing laws,” explains Sarah Inness of Winnipeg, member of the CBA’s National Criminal Justice Section. “The Bill could create unjust and disproportionate sentences and ultimately would not achieve its intended goal of greater public safety.”

“As lawyers in criminal courts across the country every day, we know that major drug offences are treated very seriously by the courts,” notes the CBA submission. “Judges have effective guidance from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Criminal Code to determine a fit sentence for the individual offender given the circumstances of the offence.”

“Crown prosecutors highlight relevant aggravating factors to judges. Judges can give those factors appropriate weight in determining if and when incarceration ought to be imposed, and the length and venue of such a sentence.”

The CBA notes that some offenders are good candidates for rehabilitation. “Minimum mandatory sentences will result in offenders who could have been rehabilitated remaining incarcerated long after their detention acts as either a deterrent, is required for public safety, or promotes rehabilitative goals.”

The Bill would reduce the number of guilty pleas, lead to more trials and more delays, and require additional resources to prosecute and incarcerate more offenders, according to the submission."

This group of professionals who are directly affected by the fallout of Bill C-15 state:

"The CBA has consistently opposed mandatory minimum sentences for the following reasons:

  • They do not advance the goal of deterrence.
  • They do not target the most egregious or dangerous offenders.
  • The have a disproportionate impact on those minority groups who already suffer from poverty and deprivation.
  • They subvert important aspects of Canada’s sentencing regime, including principles of proportionality and individualization and reliance on judges to impose a just sentence after hearing all the facts in the individual case."
How can the Conservatives and Liberals support a Law when the very people who are going to have to deal with the consequences of Bill C-15, say that Mandatory Minimum Sentencing (for what is no doubt going to affect large numbers on non-violent "offenders") does not work?

In webspeak, I offer you a *shakes head* and *facepalm*. Read the press release statement from the CBA here: CBA Favours Judges’ Discretion over Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Drug-Related Offences

UPDATE - The CBA has also released this info for Bill S-10

1 comment:

  1. Update August 2011: This now applies to the Ominibus Bill the Conservatives are trying to thrust upon Canadians.


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