CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES – Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Legal Rights – Protection against cruel and unusual punishment

Law360 Canada (January 27, 2023, 3:14 PM EST) -- Appeal by Hills from a decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal overturning the sentencing judge’s declaration that s. 244.2(3)(b) of the Criminal Code was unconstitutional and overturning his sentence. Hills pleaded guilty to the offence of discharging a firearm into or at a place, knowing that or being reckless as to whether another person was present in the place. While intoxicated, Hills shot at a car using a hunting rifle. He then fired shots at a residential home occupied by a family at the time. When police arrived, they discovered several rounds had penetrated the home. The sentencing judge concluded that the mandatory minimum set out in s. 244.2(3)(b) was unconstitutional and imposed a sentence of three and a half years of incarceration. The Crown appealed the judge's declaration of invalidity of the mandatory minimum sentence and Hill's sentence. The Alberta Court of Appeal allowed the appeal on both grounds. It concluded that the sentencing judge had underestimated the gravity of the offence and sentenced Hills to four years imprisonment. Hills appealed the decision and argued the prescribed mandatory minimum sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment contrary to s. 12 of the Charter....
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