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.

Decision of the Week – S. 2(b) Charter Challenge

This decision by Lanchbery, J. concerns the right of Manitoba Public Insurance to cancel a personalized licence plate (PLP) after allowing the respondent to display it for almost two years. The slogan on the licence plate was based on characters from Star Trek.

[88]      The question before me, is the limit of s. 2(b) rights on PLPs for the purpose to “eliminate the inappropriate/possibly offensive slogans”, reasonable.

Troller v. Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation, 2019 MBQB 157

The parties agreed that the decision to revoke the PLP is a discretionary administrative act of the Registrar (para. 81). Lanchbery, J. found that Charter protections are engaged, but further analysis showed that the actions of MPIC were reasonable.

One interesting fact that came out of this was that MPIC uses the Urban Dictionary as one of its sources to determine whether a potential PLP is offensive.

Decision of the Week: Hyczkewycz v Hupe

This decision deserves decision of the week status for its lengthy and exhaustive analysis of the Torrens system. Beard, J.A.’s analysis included resulting trusts and indefeasibility of title, the origins and goals of the Torrens system, both here and in Australasia where it originated, and the interplay between indefeasibility and trusts. The decision also cites a lengthy bibliiography of articles and texts that were consulted, written between 1859 and 2016.

[33]                     While there are decisions on the interpretation of indefeasibility legislation and its effect on the enforcement of unregistered claims, including resulting trust claims, against real property from the appellate courts in the other western provinces, those decisions have, in some instances, come to different conclusions.  There is, to my knowledge, no decision on point from this Court.  Given that there are some differences between the language used in the real property title registry legislation in the various jurisdictions, it is necessary to undertake a review of the origins and goals of the registry systems to determine the correct interpretation of the current legislation in Manitoba.  As all of the western jurisdictions have land registry systems based on the Torrens system of land titles (the Torrens system), this analysis requires a review of the following:  (a) the origins and goals of the Torrens system; (b) the interplay between the Torrens indefeasibility principle and trusts; and (c) Manitoba’s RPA, the effect of the indefeasibility provision and whether trusts can co-exist with indefeasibility.

2019 MBCA 74

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

Decision of the Week – Charter Challenge for Search under the Traffic Safety Act

A frequent request of the library is for research on the validity of a search of a vehicle. This decision from the Alberta Court of Appeal analyses the steps the police must take to ensure compliance with sections 8, 9, 10 and 24(2) of the Charter.


[3]               The appellant appears to urge that this dominant objective in the mind of the police officer, contaminated the interaction with the appellant such as to occasion within the interaction between them the following “cascading” series of Charter breaches: (a) an almost immediate and continuing arbitrary detention contrary to s 9 of the Charter, (b) an improper questioning contrary to s 10 of the Charter, (c) unreasonable searches and seizures under s 8 of the Charter in the forms of a police dog sniffing around the vehicle and a pat down search of the appellant, (d) an unlawful delay in advising the appellant the reason for detention contrary to s 10(a) of the Charter and (e) an unlawful delay of advisement of the appellant’s right to counsel on detention under s 10(b) of the Charter: adapting what this Court said in R v Ali2016 ABCA 261 (CanLII) at para 3, [2016] AJ No 914 (QL).


[4]               The appellant goes on to say the evidence of the police seizure of hard drugs and a gun with ammunition from the vehicle should be excluded under s 24(2) of the Charter.

2019 ABCA 93

What is interesting to me is that Watson, J. references Crozier v. Cundey, a decision of 1827:


[35]           For what it is worth, the real mitochondrial father of both discretionary powers and limits thereon by police may be Crozier v Cundey (1827), 6 B&C. 232[1]. There, speaking as if it had long been thus, the King’s Bench noted where police might proceed without warrant and when they might not[2]Crozier need not be dismissed as merely a quirk of history. Tracing its influence through later cases shows it to be a foundation stone on which a significant part of police authority and its limits came to be constructed over the generations.

R. v. Zolmer, 2019 ABCA 93. H/t to “What’s hot on CanLII”.