DISCLAIMER: Please note that the information contained in this post does not constitute legal advice. The law is in perpetual evolution, and this information may be outdated. Furthermore, this information may have little or no relevance for your particular legal predicament. Retaining a lawyer is the surest way to obtain useful and accurate legal advice.
Here we go, I’m already half way through this practicum and I have to say, I never thought I would be learning so much!
Guillaume is truly passionate about his profession and has the soul of a pedagogue. I learn from every conversation I have with him.
I’ve been involved in every stages of a trial proceeding, every parts of a lawyer's duty, and I feel the trust, the importance and the appreciation of my inputs in every case I’m working on. It pushes me to work harder for him.
It seems very hard to summarize all that I’ve learned. All I can say is that coming to the office has become a real pleasure over the last few weeks.
We evoked mental illness (Not Criminally Responsible due to Mental Disorder), the rules of evidence, principles of closing submissions, cross-examination, all the psychological aspects when dealing with clients, how to organize a joint submission, resolution discussions, etc. However, Guillaume has asked me to read and to talk a bit about section 718 of the Criminal Code for this post.
What must be underlined from this section is that: “a sentence must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and degree of responsibility of the offender.”
According to section 718.01 and 718.02, sentencing judges MUST give primary consideration to deterrence and denunciation when sentencing offenders, in many cases.
I’d like to focus on these 2 aspects of this section of the Criminal Code, and rehabilitation. Why? Because these 3 factors are, in my opinion, the most important and what judges, Crown counsel and Defence counsel consider to be the most important topics of that section of the criminal code.
Deterrence (section 718 (b)): The primary goal of deterrence is to discourage members of society from committing criminal acts out of fear of punishment. The objective of deterrence in a sentencing is to ensure that a person guilty of a crime will be punished sufficiently to deter the guilty person from committing the same crime.
Denunciation is a principle that the sentence sends a clear message to the general public that the offence is serious and the punishment just.
Finally, Rehabilitation of the accused is an aspect in a sentencing hearing that takes more and more importance. The Court wants to ensure that the accused will be re-inserted into society without committing new crimes.
There also are other aspects, like the principle of parity or totality. For example, parity is the principle that a sentence should be similar to sentences imposed on similar offenders for similar offences in similar circumstances.
According to section 718.2(e), imprisonment should be considered as last resort: all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered for offenders of Indigenous descent.
On another note, next week will be particularly exciting as I will be accompanying Guillaume on his day, going from court appearances to court appearances! I can’t wait to discover that part of Guillaume’s duty! Till next time!