Aug 12, 2015

Criminal Law: Mandatory Minimums

R. v. Nur, 2015 SCC 15 (CanLII)

The mandatory minimum sentences imposed by s. 95(2) (a) of the Criminal Code violates s. 12 of the Charter. In most cases, including those of Nur and Charles, the mandatory minimum sentences of three and five years respectively do not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, but in some reasonably foreseeable cases that are caught by s. 95(1) they may do so. Not saved under s. 1 of the Charter, so follows that s. 95(2) (a) is unconstitutional as presently structured. Judges are not prevented from imposing exemplary sentences that emphasize deterrence and denunciation in appropriate circumstance, and Nur and Charles fall into this category.

Note: These brief summaries were originally prepared for Supreme Advocacy LLP’s weekly newsletter which covers Supreme Court of Canada appeals and leaves to appeal.