Cases & Decisions

R v SAC [Interpreting “a history that indicates a pattern of findings of guilt” under the YCJA]

Court: Supreme Court of Canada, 2008

JFCY intervened at the Supreme Court of Canada in this case, in an appeal from the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. This case involved a sentencing appeal in which the issues included determining the interpretation of “… a history that indicates a pattern of findings of guilt…” (under s. 39(1)(c) of the YCJA), the requirements for a DNA order on a secondary designated offence, and the comprehensiveness of Pre-Sentence Reports (under s.40(1) of the YCJA).

On July 31, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered their judgment. The court held that, a pattern is a minimum of three prior findings of guilt unless the court can find that the offences are so similar that a pattern can be found in only two prior findings of guilt.  Further, the prior findings of guilty need not relate to similar or indictable offences. The Court also held that a DNA order for secondary designated offences required the Crown to show that such an order would be in the best interests of the administration of justice. With respect to Pre-Sentence Reports, the Court held that a full pre-sentence report and two updated letters contained sufficient individualized information to allow the court to craft an appropriate and meaningful sentence.

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