Mandatory Minimum Sentences Already Clogging Up Canada’s Judicial System

July 29, 2015

As a Criminal Defence Lawyer, I’ve always been vocally opposed to the Conservative Government’s “Tough on Crime” agenda and its signature mandatory minimum sentences. Having had years of experience defending clients detained on a myriad of charges, I can easily see the ways in which the legislation violates the Charter right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Just as important: mandatory minimums violate common sense.

In a previous post, I discussed the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down mandatory minimum sentences for gun possession crimes. Their reasoning was that the legislation had the potential to endanger people who could be attributed “little or no moral fault” and posed no danger to the public. While this is true about any mandatory minimum sentences, another major concern is has to be the strain that mandatory minimums place on an already overburdened legal system.

A perfect case in point is the multi-appeal case of Joseph Lloyd. In 2013, Lloyd was convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking after being found with just under 10 grams of crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. Due to Lloyd’s admission that he was addicted to all three of these drugs, a Provincial Court Judge found that in Lloyd’s case, the mandatory minimum sentence could “amount to cruel and unusual punishment”, and the court did not impose the mandatory term of one year in jail. However, the BC Court of Appeal later overturned the decision and increased Lloyd’s sentence. Now, the case has been sent to the Supreme Court, which will determine whether the sentence violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Nearly two years after his arrest, Lloyd’s fate remains undecided as multiple courts fight for their right to have the final say.

This is just the beginning. Countless taxpayer dollars will be wasted in defending the constitutional validity of mandatory minimum sentences as the appeals continue begin to pour in and continue to clog up our crowded legal system. As a Criminal Defence Lawyer in Toronto, I believe that getting “tough on crime”, rather than getting smart on crime, will not result in any reduction in criminal activity, but will certainly endanger the rights of Canadians and waste our hard-earned money.

If your rights have been violated following the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence, the time to act is now. As a Criminal Defence Lawyer in Toronto, I am committed to opposing “Tough on Crime” legislation, and skilled at crafting Defence strategies that secure the best possible results for each and every one of my clients. Reach out to my office today to book a confidential consultation, completely free of charge.


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