The Supreme Court of Canada will soon determine whether mandatory minimum sentences violate a person’s charter rights.
A advocacy group in Vancouver that has intervened in the hearing, West Coast LEAF, says Joseph Lloyd’s case has “critical implications” for women’s rights.
Lloyd was arrested in 2013 for carrying less than 10 grams of meth, crack cocaine and heroin on the Downtown Eastside. It was was enough to get him a mandatory one-year minimum jail term. Lloyd’s defence was that he was an addict, not a trafficker.
West Coast LEAF is arguing a judge’s discretion is needed because mandatory sentences mainly target the marginalized and disadvantaged, saying the sentences have “disproportionately negative consequences for women.”
The former Conservative government introduced mandatory sentencing as part of its omnibus crime bill in 2012.