Saturday, April 17

Domestic violence | The Court of Appeal doubles a sentence deemed too lenient

The Court of Appeal ruled earlier this month that Judge Joëlle Roy handed down too lenient a sentence to a man accused of domestic violence. Quebec’s highest court overturned the 12-month jail sentence to increase it to 24.

Véronique LauzonVéronique Lauzon

On March 10, 2017, an intoxicated man went to his ex-wife’s home to collect money he had loaned to this woman’s son, even though she had told him that she did not want to see him. Without her permission, he entered her apartment and beat her. He also allegedly tried to kill her.

At his trial, the accused pleaded guilty to two of the five counts, namely committing and criminal harassment.

The Crown was asking for 30 months in jail, but the trial judge instead imposed the sentence suggested by the defense of 12 months. Although she admitted that he had a heavy criminal past in matters of violence, Judge Joëlle Roy noted that the accused expressed his remorse and that he had changed for the better. Among other things, he was in therapy for six months and has been sober for over two years. In addition to noting all of her rehabilitation efforts, she specified that her risk of recurrence was assessed as “moderate”.

The Court of Appeal indicated in its judgment that Justice Roy had mainly focused on the rehabilitation of the accused. “She neglected the objectives of denunciation and deterrence of the sentence, which are of paramount importance in matters of domestic violence,” said Justice Allan R. Hilton, in particular, adding that the trial judge also omitted to take into account the bodily injuries suffered by the victim.

The Court of Appeal thus decided to double the time in which the accused was incarcerated. Except that since the man has already served his 12-month sentence and has been at liberty for more than 18 months, Judge Hilton mentions that it is not in the interests of justice to order his reincarceration. However, his probation is extended for another year, from two to three years.

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