Nova Scotia man wins legal battle over sentence length
Supreme Court rules on 3 cases of credit for time on remand
A Nova Scotia man convicted of cocaine trafficking has won a legal battle over the length of his sentence.
Level Aaron Carvery's case was one of three decisions released Friday by the Supreme Court of Canada. All three dealt with provisions in federal government's Truth In Sentencing Act.
The act restricts the amount of credit an inmate can get for time served before his case is dealt with by the courts.
Carvery was arrested in September 2010 for being on the street after midnight. He was under a curfew at the time.
Police searched Carvery and discovered he was carrying five grams of crack cocaine. He was charged with trafficking and breach of a recognizance.
Crown's arguments rejected
Carvery entered a guilty plea to those charges in November 2010. Then he changed his mind. He also changed lawyers. Both decisions delayed his sentencing.
Finally in June, 2011, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison. But provincial court judge Anne Derrick also gave him credit for the 9 1/2 months he spent on remand. Judge Derrick reduced Carvery's sentence by a day-and-a-half for each day he spent on remand.
The Crown did not object to the 30-month sentence. But it did object to the remand time, because the Truth in Sentencing Act says remand credit should be on a one-for-one basis, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
In March of 2012, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal rejected the Crown's arguments and upheld the original sentence.
The Crown appealed that decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. Because of the broader ramifications, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Criminal Lawyers Association of Ontario both intervened in the case.
Ontario cases of time on remand
In addition to Carvery, the Supreme Court dealt with the issue of remand time arising from two Ontario cases.
Calvin Clarke was sentenced to 10 years for robbery and other crimes. The trial judge gave Clarke the maximum allowable credit for the time he spent on remand, reducing his total sentence by 17 months.
The Crown appealed. And like in the Carvery case, the appeal was dismissed Friday by the Supreme Court.
The third case the Supreme Court ruled on Friday involved Sean Summers, an Ontario man who was convicted of manslaughter in the death of his daughter after he shook her violently. When he was sentenced, Summers got full credit for the 10 1/2 months he spent on remand.
Again, the Crown appealed. And Friday, Summers — like Carvery and Clarke — won his case when the Supreme Court dismissed the Crown appeal.