Mandatory Sentences - Judges Panel

We convene a panel of judges to discuss last week's Alberta Court of Appeal ruling saying the Supreme Court of Canada should impose minimum sentences for some crimes, regardless of any mitigating circumstances in a given case.



PART ONE

It's Wednesday, December 15th.

A Senate committee is recommending that Canada stop minting the penny. The senators point out that its value is less than what it costs to produce.

Currently, the logic is being met with nervous laughter from other Senators.

This is The Current.

Mandatory Sentences - Judges Panel

The Alberta Court of Appeal has issued a warning to Canada's Supreme Court -- reign in Canadian judges and tighten up Canada's sentencing rules, or risk losing Canadians' faith in the justice system.

The view was in a ruling issued last week in the case of a man who was sentenced to nine months for sexually assaulting a friend. The Alberta Court of Appeal ruled the sentence was too lenient. And it went further, saying trial judges should not be allowed to inject their own views into sentencing and adding quote: public confidence is eroded when the requirements of legality are not apparent in a criminal sentence.

The appeal judges also called for minimum sentences for some crimes, regardless of the mitigating circumstances in a given case. We had a rare opportunity to hear from three long time retired judges on this contentious issue. John Major was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada for 14 years. Herb Allard spent 27 years as a family and youth court judge in Alberta. They were both in Calgary. And Wally Oppal sat on the B.C. Court of Appeal before retiring from the bench and becoming BC's Attorney General. He left politics in 2009. He was in Vancouver.

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