This week at the SCC

This week, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear four appeals, including a pair that will determine whether minimum-sentencing provisions for crimes related to firearm possession constitute cruel and unusual punishment in breach of the Charter.

Nov. 5 – Ontario – Dunn v. R.

Criminal: Christopher Dunn was seen pointing a BB gun at another man. Police charged him with carelessly handling a firearm or imitation thereof for purpose dangerous to the public peace. The trial judge applied R. v. McManus and dismissed all charges, having found no evidence that the BB gun was being used as a weapon. The court of appeal overturned McManus and ordered a new trial.

Read the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news story:
Gun or not, judge acquits, Toronto Sun

Nov. 6 – Quebec – R. v. St-Cloud

Criminal: The respondent was charged with assaulting a Montreal bus driver. Two justices found the respondent’s detention was necessary to maintain confidence in the administration of justice. On review, the Superior Court found that provisions allowing the detention should have been used sparingly and that the trial judges had erred. The SCC will review the test for detention in such circumstances. A publication ban is in place.

Read the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision

Nov. 7 – Ontario – R. v. Nur and R. v. Charles

Charter of Rights: The respondents in these cases both pled guilty to charges related to firearm possession. The respondents, however, successfully challenged the mandatory minimum-sentencing regime on the basis that it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and violates their Charter rights. The SCC will review whether the mandatory sentencing regime for gun possession is in breach of the Charter.

Read the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news stories:
Mandatory minimum gun sentences battled in Toronto courts, Toronto Star

Mandatory minimum. Struck down?, The National

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