Canada's top court strikes down two 'tough-on-crime' laws

Canada's Supreme Court strikes down two 'tough-on-crime' measures introduced by former Conservative government, finding it unconstitutional in practice

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The Supreme Court of Canada

Canada's Supreme Court on Friday struck down two so-called 'tough-on-crime' measures introduced by the former Conservative government, ruling the changes to sentencing practices were unconstitutional.

In the first case, the court ruled six to three that the requirement of a one-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for drug offenses violated the guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment in the country's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders were enacted in 2012, part of changes to the criminal law made by the Conservatives.

In the second case, the court voted unanimously against denying enhanced credit for pre-sentence time spent in custody to those that had been denied bail primarily due to a prior conviction.

Reforms in 2009 made those that had been denied bail primarily because of a previous conviction ineligible for enhanced credit, limiting the credit for pre-sentence time served to a one-to-one basis, rather than one-and-a-half days.

The court ruled that the denial of enhanced credit was overly broad.

TRTWorld, Reuters