Court of Appeal of Quebec

R. v. Laffin

June 06, 2018

500-10-005953-151 and 500-10-005954-159

Hilton, Vauclair, Marcotte

Appeals from a sentencing judgment of the Court of Quebec. Allowed.

After pleading guilty to charges of unlawful possession of unstamped tobacco under the Excise Act, 2001 (S.C. 2002, c. 22), the respondents were sentenced to a conditional sentence of one (1) year of imprisonment and one (1) year of probation. The Crown appeals the sentences on the ground that a conditional sentence cannot be served outside Canada. The respondents reside on the American side of the Akwesasne Reserve. The Crown is therefore of the opinion that the appropriate sentence is the imposition of the minimum fine of $193,659. The respondents, for their part, argue that the sentence does not take into account the time served in pre-sentencing detention and that they would therefore be punished twice for the same offence.

There is no statutory authority to enable a Canadian court to ask a foreign court to administer a sentence imposed in Canada (R. v. Goett (C.A. (Alb.), 2012-07-06), 2012 ABCA 215, SOQUIJ AZ-50871703). It is therefore impossible to ensure that the sentence will be enforced, especially given that breach of a conditional sentence order is not an offence. Consequently, the sentences are illegal. Given the seriousness of the offences committed and the respondents’ prior convictions, they are substituted with a sentence of three (3) months of imprisonment in one file and 30 days of imprisonment in the other, to be served concurrently. Taking into account time already served in detention, the respondents have served their sentence. 

*Summary by SOQUIJ
Text of the decision: Http://citoyens.soquij.qc.ca. This link open an external website in a new window.

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