Deciding On A Sentence

"If a person has been found ‘guilty,’ the Crown and Defence make submissions as to what an appropriate sentence ought be, considering the facts as found by the court and the circumstances of the convicted person so as to give a ‘fit’ sentence. In fact, this is key as all submissions are really leading to this point, including the Gladue principles. The Gladue principles are part of the checks and balances within the legal system to assure Justice and restorative sentencing."

As we will discuss in the next module, it is at this juncture that the principles as set out in Gladue and Ipeelee, applied to the convicted person would be presented to the Court.

Once the Judge has heard the submissions from the Crown and the accused – either directly or by way of a representative - then the Judge has a number of options. The Judge has much discretion; however, it is not full and free discretion. Some offences have fixed fines and sentences, some minimum and maximum limits from within the Criminal Code or other laws. It is the responsibility of the client's Defence Counsel or a justice worker to inform the court about the client's circumstances to assist the presiding Judge in reaching a decision.

Sentencing options are not only found in the Criminal Code of Canada, but also in other regulatory statutes and in ‘like cases’. For example, a statute may require an individual to repay for the cost of police services or forest fighting services and the Judge may not have any latitude in this regard.

This area of sentencing in the law is a very active area of the law and change occurs frequently.