The case of a man who pleaded guilty to assault and robbery in 2012 is at the center of hearings in downtown Vancouver on Wednesday as to whether Canada’s dangerous offenders laws are a breach of charter rights.
Two years ago, the BC Supreme Court ruled Donald Boutelier’s rights were violated. The changes to designating his dangerous offender status were struck down as unconstitutional last June by Justice Peter Voith, who then gave the government a year to fix it.
As a dangerous offender, Boutelier was given an automatic indefinite sentence.
The Crown’s attempt to strike down that ruling has begun in the BC Court of Appeal. If it gets its way, the dangerous offender designation status will be upheld.
Critics, including Voith, argue the law could see someone with a drug dependency or a mental illness jailed for life, not just violent criminals.