Uniform Law Conference criminal section asks feds to examine intimate-partner homicide penalties

Section also suggested examining punishments for posting intimate images without consent

Uniform Law Conference criminal section asks feds to examine intimate-partner homicide penalties
Anny Bernier, deputy director of prosecutions in the office of Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions

The criminal section of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) recently decided to advise the federal Department of Justice to examine the severity of punishments for intimate-partner homicide and revenge porn.

The ULCC convened its 105th annual meeting in Charlottetown, PEI, from Aug. 21 to Aug. 25. At the gathering, the ULCC’s criminal section carried a resolution for Justice Canada to assess the penalties for intimate-partner homicide committed in the “context of domestic violence, domination, or coercive control.” The resolution also calls on the justice department, in consultation with the provinces and territories, to evaluate parole eligibility for intimate partner murder and to study whether new sanctions for intimate partner manslaughter would be appropriate.

The criminal section also carried a resolution to propose increasing the maximum penalty for indictable voyeurism and non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

The ULCC was formed in 1918 to provide independent analysis and recommendations for harmonizing and reforming Canadian law. It produces uniform and model acts, statements of legal principles, and other material to recommend for consideration by federal, provincial, and territorial governments. The ULCC has a civil section and a criminal section and includes as delegates government lawyers, prosecutors, private practice lawyers, judges, law professors, and representatives from the Canadian Bar Association, the Barreau du Québec, the Law Commission of Canada, and Canadian law reform organizations.

“The ULCC criminal section discussed 35 resolutions on a wide range of criminal justice topics last week,” says Anny Bernier, deputy director of prosecutions in the office of Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions and chair of the criminal section. “The ULCC is the only forum that brings together all the judicial players in criminal law.”

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments share constitutional responsibility for the criminal justice system. Bernier says the criminal section allows members of the justice system to identify legal and operational issues and make recommendations for legislative criminal justice reform.

“The ULCC offers a unique breadth of expertise by bringing together people from across the national legal community,” she says. “This assures that all participants’ points of view in respect to their own provincial/territorial reality are expressed and considered in the analysis of the legal issues raised through the resolutions we debate and during the work of the working groups we set.”

At the meeting, the criminal section’s working group on the search warrant regime under s. 487 of the Criminal Code delivered its final report. As did the working groups studying juries and fitness to stand trial under s. 672.26 and the detention of seized property under s. 490.

The section also passed a motion to establish a working group to explore criminal and civil legislative recommendations on the treatment of animals.

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