Decisions of the Week – Sentencing

We get many requests for decisions on sentencing, particularly where parties are aware of a particular sentence, however, often the decision is not reported. Last month the Provincial Court of Manitoba published several sentencing decisions, some of which are highlighted here.

R. v. Alcantara, 2019 MBPC 67 challenged the constitutionality of the mandatory minimum sentence for the offence of luring.

[1]          …. Counsel agree that the Court should first determine the fit and appropriate range of sentence, given this offender’s personal circumstances and need not examine the constitutional issue if the Court determines that the fit and appropriate sentence is within the range set out by the mandatory minimum. On the other hand, if the Court determines that a one year sentence is grossly disproportionate for Mr. Alcantara, the constitutionality of the sentencing provision is engaged, and the Court must determine if one year in jail amounts to cruel and unusual punishment for Mr. Alcantara.

R. v. Alcantara (Rolston, P.J.)

R. v. Little, 2019 MPBC 60 concerns the appropriateness of a joint sentencing submission. Along with a pre-sentence report, the Court ordered a supplementary Gladue-style appendix for further consideration of the offender’s circumstances.

[45]        … I am therefore, given his youth, his vulnerability and his Gladue and s. 718.2(e) factors (which apply to all offenders), of the view that the jointly proposed sentence should not be confirmed, that something less will be adequate and purposeful in the offender’s unique and most unfortunate circumstances. …

R. v. Little (Corrin, P.J.)

R. v. Goodman, 2019 MBPC 77 describes the difficulty of arriving at an appropriate sentence when the offender, with a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder commits a serious offence.

[1]            Sentencing is often described as more of an art than a science.  This is because although the Criminal Code sets out sentencing principles, the Court must still balance them in light of the circumstances of the offence and the offender. 

R. v. Goodman (L.M. Martin, P.J.)

All of these decisions offer significant analysis in their reasons and guidance for future sentences. The library also has other resources available for finding sentencing decisions, in print and e-book format. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for help crafting your submissions on sentencing.

Manitoba Reports are now on CanLII

[Guest author Sarah Sutherland. Cross-posted from The CanLII Blog.]

Over 9,500 decisions from the Manitoba Reports have been added to CanLII! 

CanLII is grateful to have received a grant from the Manitoba Law Foundation to add decisions from the first and second series of the Manitoba Reports to CanLII.org. 

For the last year we have been doing research into what gaps there are in legal research for jurisdictions across Canada. In Manitoba we discovered that there was a gap in access to historical caselaw for the province. Following this we applied for a grant to help fill that gap.

We have added around 4,500 decisions from the first series and 5,000 from the second series of the Manitoba Reports. You can find them on CanLII using this search query

Thank you to Karen Dyck, Erin Wilcott, and the staff at the Manitoba Law Foundation for making this grant possible, and Karen Sawatzky at the Manitoba Law Library for helping us identify local needs.

Happy researching!

Decision of the Week – Employer Charged With Workplace Fatality

This week’s decision comes from Nova Scotia. I found there were two very interesting facets to it that warranted bringing to the attention of members in Manitoba.

R. v. Hoyeck, 2019 NSSC 7 concerns an employer who was charged with failing to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to an employee. The trial began before a judge and jury, but after two days, the jury was dismissed. After jury selection, one of the jurors sent a note to the judge about investigation into his LinkedIn account by the Crown (para. 3). As noted in this article by Norm Keith at Fasken:

The jury was discharged after one of the prosecutors, Mr. Keaveny was the subject of controversy about his use of social media to investigate prospective jurors. 

Nova Scotia Employer Acquitted in Westray Bill Prosecution

The benefit of this development is there is now additional case law on the subject of the responsibility of an employer in the death of an employee. There is a very high standard of proof required to convict an employer of Occupational Health and Safety criminal negligence. In this instance, the employee was a licensed Red Seal Mechanic and more qualified in his work than the owner. Although Chipman, J. was critical of the employer in his workplace practices:


Based on all of the evidence it is impossible for me to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Hoyeck did anything or omitted to do anything (that was his duty to do or not do) such that he is guilty of criminal negligence causing death.  …

R. v. Hoyeck, para. 94

Contents Update – Canadian Native Law Reporter

2018 – Volume 4 of the Canadian Native Law Reporter has arrived at the library.

Table of Contents