Appeal underway about constitutionality of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

B-C’s highest court is hearing what’s believed to be the first challenge in Canada to the Harper government’s mandatory minimum sentences on drug charges.

Joseph Lloyd was convicted last year after police stopped him on his bike and found him with about ten grams of heroin, crack and meth.

But a provincial court judge refused to hand down the mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year in jail, saying it was unconstitutional.

The Crown is appealing, and lawyer Adrienne Smith is intervening on behalf of Pivot Legal Soeicty.

She says, “Our submissions are about how the mandatory minimum sentence could lead to cruel and unusual punishment for accused persons … who have become involved in the drug trade as a result of their addiction.”

Smith says drug problems should be answered by doctors and not prison wardens.

The case runs today and tomorrow.

Adrienne Smith of the Pivot Legal Society

Comments

  1. The Parliament makes the laws . . . Judges enforce the laws.
    Unfortunately today . . . we have activist judges and lawyers that want to push their “Progressive” agenda . . .

    Who in their right mind would think a heroin, crack and meth pushing dirt bag does not deserve at least a year out of action?

    Pivot has long been the home of far-left loons . . . .

  2. Another example of how our judicial system is completely out of whack . Anyone convicted of selling hard drugs is a serious criminal … and should be punisheed accordingly . In terms that PIVOT and equivalents can understand , the selling of drugs and addicting of other individuals is a reprehensible act that results in a tremendous cost burden to our society .

  3. the addicts need help . they need to be removed from the streets. they need to be locked away in special treatment “jails” until they no longer crave drugs. dealers should be charged with attempted murder and locked away in common jails .

  4. That judge should be jailed for not holding up and enforcing the laws of the land.

    The entire correction system should be updated to include anyone charged and jailed for a criminal act should loose ALL rights, other than basic human rights, as a free citizen until they have served their penalty and have been released back into society.

    The laws are NOT tough enough and the judges are bunch of left wing-nuts.

  5. This is lunacy. Taking sentencing out of judges hands and, using Harpers list of punishments. I’m not saying someone selling hard drugs does not deserve a year in prison. I’m saying what if that where your son, What if he was newly addicted and was desperate for his fix. Most addicts would sell their mother for their next fix. So selling drugs for his pusher would be a no brainer, for him. For the pusher, it’s a chance to get some new people addicted. The point is, we don’t know the whole story.
    Did you know that cannabis prohibition and indoor cultivation in BC is causing a proliferation of hard drugs on BC streets? The RCMP gives the black market estimates of 7 billion dollars a year. With everyone using debit cards these days. There is not enough cash money in circulation to pay for the pot going south. It is paid for with hard drugs and guns. There was a film producer interviewed here on CKNW last week, that says because of this BC has the cheapest cocaine prices in north America. The documentary is called , “The Union, the Business Behind Getting High”. So please open your mind and don’t follow misguided politicians looking for a positive sound bite.

    To expand on where I think this is going. Canada is going to the American model with private prisons and the most incarcerated nation on earth. In US prisons, 50% of the prisoner’s are in for drugs. Harper is already trying to get the provinces to help build five new prisons, in the face of a falling crime rate.
    It doesn’t matter what color the party of the future is. The Princes of Commerce and their newspapers will be telling us. The public prisons are run inefficiently and we should privatize and save money. Do you remember Mulroney and the military bases in Montreal and on PEI sold for a fraction of real worth? The Montreal base was sold Guy Charbonneau, Mulroney’s mentor.

    • The problem is that our Judiciary is terribly inconsistent with a very large number of criminal cases. Where one judge might be harsh, others are downright out of their minds.
      I do believe there should be minimum sentences, in fact for repeat offenders minimum sentences should be increased by a factor of two. In the case of offences of homicide or murder, such offenses should be much more harsh. The current 25 year limit is crazy. Indeed, I also strongly believe that forms of ‘corporal’ punishment needs to be re-installed. I also believe the current parole system should be abolished. I am on the edge with the potential of re-instating the ‘death’ penalty, especially when one hears of one person killing multiple people like what happened in Moncton.

      The Pivot type Lawyers in my view are NOT contributing anything valid in support of ‘law and order’ and are mostly lawyers on welfare in any event.

      • I disagree with your last paragraph. The Pivot legal society and those like them, do important work. They are some of civilizations finest. These days most people can’t see it. But society would be chaos with out law. This includes the most marginalized. I thank them for the work they do.

    • What is “Lunacy” is your comments . . .

      Were Chretiens minimum terms better?
      You prefer a revolving door justice system where the small percentage of criminals are free doing more crimes?

      “Did you know that cannabis prohibition and indoor cultivation in BC is causing a proliferation of hard drugs on BC streets?”
      That is just silly Mike . . . .

      “To expand on where I think this is going. Canada is going to the American model with private prisons and the most incarcerated nation on earth. In US prisons, 50% of the prisoner’s are in for drugs. Harper is already trying to get the provinces to help build five new prisons, in the face of a falling crime rate.”
      More lunacy from Mike . . .
      The reality is Mike . . . the Canadian prisons are ancient . . . they are being replaced with NEW prisons. Our prison population has NOT changed !
      America has a far different problem than Canada . . . ever been to Chicago, Phily, Detroit and LA?

      You spout the same nonsense a nutty Tom Mulcair . . . and you are just as wrong.

  6. The main thing we must remember is to never upset criminals. They have rights just like the rest of us. Yes, they made a wrong choice somewhere along the way. Give them a hand up.

    • David,

      I believe that if you commit a criminal offence you loose your rights as a free citizen. (basic human rights omitted) Criminals should have NO rights while incarcerated, Complete your sentence and gain your rights back as a free citizen.

      We give them a hand up by supporting them in prison.

      Toughen up the laws and the bad people will behave.

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