Saturday, March 10, 2007

Updated Library of Parliament Report on Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Gun Crimes

The Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament recently published an update to its legislative summary entitled Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Offences Involving Firearms):

"Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences involving firearms), was introduced and received first reading in the House of Commons on 4 May 2006, followed by second reading and referral to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on 13 June 2006. Its primary objectives were to increase mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment for individuals who commit serious or repeat firearm offences, and to create the new offences of breaking and entering to steal a firearm and robbery to steal a firearm".

"Bill C-10 was significantly amended by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which reported the bill back to the House of Commons on 21 February 2007. All mandatory minimum penalties were removed, leaving the two new offences accompanied only by maximum penalties of life imprisonment. A few other, less substantive provisions remained intact, resulting in an amended bill with 9 clauses, compared to the original 31".

The document includes sections on:
  • History of Minimum Sentences for Firearm Offences
  • Constitutionality of Mandatory Minimum Sentences
  • Effect of Mandatory Minimum Sentences on Gun Crime:
    1. Canada
    2. United States
    3. Effect of Imprisonment Generally
    4. Incidental Effects of Mandatory Minimum Sentences
  • Description and Analysis

Earlier Library Boy posts on the subject include:

  • Library of Parliament Mini-Review of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing (March 22, 2006): "The document states that studies show that a direct cause and effect relationship between mandatory minimums and a decline in crime rates can not be drawn; as well, given the many factors that can explain crime trends, studies on the effects of such sentences are considered difficult to interpret... And since the accused has no incentive to plead guilty, some fear that mandatory minimums can lead to costly trials."
  • Tougher Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Gun Crimes (May 4, 2006): "Today, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Vic Toews introduced bills to increase mandatory minimum penalties for gun crimes and to restrict conditional sentences for violent offenders."
  • Reverse Onus for Gun Crimes (November 26, 2006): "The federal government's proposed new gun crimes legislation would put the burden on serious gun crimes suspects seeking bail to show cause why they should not stay in custody... On January 2, the Globe and Mail, in an article entitled 'Targeting gun offences presents legal quagmire', quoted various legal experts as saying it is a 'total crap shoot' whether reverse onus would survive a constitutional challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:56 pm


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