Harper crime bill to throw away the key for ‘repulsive’ murderers could prove unnecessary and harmful: critics

Harper crime bill to throw away the key for ‘repulsive’ murderers

Harper crime bill to throw away the key for ‘repulsive’ murderers could prove unnecessary and harmful: critics

National-Post

The Harper government’s latest tough-on-crime proposal — to allow for life sentences without the option of parole — could be more symbolic and even dangerous, some experts suggest.

Canada’s toughest penalty is currently life in prison with no option of parole for 25 years. The Conservatives want to all but eliminate any chance of release for those convicted of the most “repulsive” and “heinous” crimes.

A life sentence in Canada will henceforth mean just that: a sentence for life

“A life sentence in Canada will henceforth mean just that: a sentence for life,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said from Scarborough. “There are certain crimes so repulsive that only a life-long sentence adequately reflects their truly horrific nature.”

Those crimes include “sexual assault; kidnapping or forcible confinement; terrorism; the killing of police officers or corrections officers; or, any first degree murders that are found to be of a particularly brutal nature,” according to a government backgrounder on the subject.

The bill would also give judges the discretion to impose those life sentences in other first-degree murder convictions.

The bill would make significant changes to sentencing: “When a criminal kills more than one person, under our law, judges can now impose consecutive sentences and take every lost life into account,” Harper said.

Without the text of the bill, which won’t be revealed until next week, it’s hard to parse the exact implications of the planned legislation.

Some have also suggested there are few if any examples where the legal change would have prevented someone dangerous from being released.

“The number of people that have been released for these kinds of offenses is a very small list… and it only happens when the circumstances are truly warranted,” said Boris Bytensky, a criminal lawyer with Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman.

“Most dangerous killers are already denied parole and held for life,” NDP justice critic Francoise Boivin said in a statement.

“I think it sends a message the government doesn’t trust the parole board to do the right thing,” Bytenksy said, adding he doesn’t really see the point. “Recidivism rates on paroled murderers are extremely low.”

He also said it could make jails even more dangerous and costly to run, as removing any hope of release removes the incentive to behave well, which creates a more violent experience for offenders who will be released.

All that adds up to more costs on the cash-strapped corrections system, he added.

It’s a very dangerous idea to put parole decisions in the hands of somebody who is elected

Canada already allows convicts to appeal to the prime minister for a pardon, and Bytensky doesn’t see the point of duplicating that process.

“It’s a very dangerous idea to put parole decisions in the hands of somebody who is elected,” Bytensky said, because they are moved by public opinion, not the law.

Harper has already promised to disallow early releases for repeat violent offenders. The Wednesday announcement is just the latest in a slew of tough-on-crime bills from the Conservative government. Past legislation has created a victims’ bill of rights, made it easier to deport convicted criminals and imposed mandatory minimums for certain crimes.

Judges and legal experts have criticized some of those moves, while victims’ rights advocates and other bodies have lauded them. Police and correctional services have called for more funding to meet increased costs associated with past crime bills.

Tough-on-crime legislation was a plank of the government’s 2013 Speech from the Throne and following through on that pledge already plays heavily into party rhetoric used to fundraise and prepare for the upcoming federal election, expected this fall.

— with files from the Canadian Press

https://news.nationalpost.com/2015/03/04/a-life-sentence-in-canada-will-henceforth-mean-just-that-harper-announces-new-tough-on-crime-bill/

Our Testimonials

Dod Ndreu
Dod Ndreu
23:22 02 May 20
Edward is an excellent lawyer. He is very professional and hard working criminal lawyer. I hired him for my sons criminal matter as he was looking at numerous charges and some serious jail time. He worked very hard on my sons case and dropped all charges. My son was able to get away with no jail time, thanks to Edwards hard work.. Edward was a godsend to me and my family in the hardest time of my life, and I will never forget. Every thing he told me during the court sessions happened exactly as he had planned them. I would very highly recommend Edward, his work speaks for itself. If you want positive results this is the guy to hire.Thank you Edward for what you have done for me and my family.All the best,Dod
Christopher Seiler
Christopher Seiler
17:20 04 Apr 20
Sonya Shikhman was a total life saver. She took my case in her hands and never left me doubting that I had the best representation I ever could. Thank you for your professionalism, your commitment and accuracy.
Adriano Carpenter
Adriano Carpenter
02:05 04 Apr 20
Sonya is very professional, knowledgable and pleasant lawyer. She was always there when we needed her. She was patient, explained every step of the very unpleasant process and prepared us for every day of the trial. I have been recommending Sonya and her law firm ever since. Thank you, Sonya! Keep up Great Work!
Alex Chalmiev
Alex Chalmiev
11:28 12 Sep 19
The service that their law firm provides is top notch. I had the pleasure to work with Sonya Shikhman she is an incredible lawyer. Very sharp, straight to the point, and gets the job done. It’s very rear that you see the professionalism on that level.
Omar Kalair
Omar Kalair
00:01 15 Jul 19
Edward Prutschi is an excellent criminal lawyer. He took a complex financial crime case where I was facing a long term jail sentence and was able to present a case where the judge acquitted me on all charges. I dealt with two other lawyers who were on record for my file before Edward came on board. With Edward, I found he was always responsive and always willing to listen. He presented a complex case over 5 weeks and was quick on his feet for every twist and turn during the trial. He would be up late the night before witness examination exchanging emails due to new email evidence I was sending him. He would go out of his way to visit potential expert witnesses. He presented a united and coherent defense to the Judge which in the end resulted in my acquittal and the co-accused. With his leading media expertise and being a guest columnist in the Toronto Sun, he wrote an article in defense of my acquittal for those who were questioning the Judge’s decision.
taravid7
taravid7
06:41 07 Feb 19
This is by far the best legal representation in Toronto. Sonya Shikhman is tough and brilliant. I highly recommend this firm.
Richard D
Richard D
00:17 24 Apr 18
An excellent lawyer. Edward Prutschi is thorough, non-judgmental and effective. He returns calls quickly and handles everything with a personal touch that puts you immediately at ease. I would highly recommend him
Andreea Felinar
Andreea Felinar
17:01 20 Aug 15
Edward Prutschi is very professional and very helpful. Very patiently, Mr. Prutschi offered me so many detailed responses to my questions. If you need the best criminal lawyer, Mr. Prutschi is the best of the best! Thank you for your efforts, Mr. Prutschi!Cristina F.
Maria konyukhova
Maria konyukhova
15:03 07 Mar 14
Sonya Shikhman is my go-to resource for criminal referrals. She is brilliant in her knowledge and application of criminal legal principles and has a superior understanding of client needs and the most practical avenues to meeting them.
Steven Klein
Steven Klein
15:51 03 Sep 13
I recently referred a client to Ed for assistance. The feedback from the client was excellent. Thanks Ed!
Shannon Stein
Shannon Stein
14:16 11 Jun 13
Ed Prutschi has always been a highly ethical, hard working professional criminal lawyer who gets results for his clients at all times. Our agency, Just For Today Harm Reduction Services, has worked with Ed for nearly ten years and all of our clients feel, as we do, that they have been well served by an empathetic lawyer who places his clients first and foremost.
David Levy
David Levy
21:20 23 May 13
Ed Prutschi is an excellent criminal lawyer. His command of the law and his experience in the Courtroom make him a stellar advocate in any criminal matter. I refer clients to Ed without hesitation because I know they will receive the zealous advocacy they want.
Sharon Shore
Sharon Shore
18:16 15 Mar 13
Ed is an excellent criminal lawyer. He is very professional, extremely responsive and gets good results for my clients. I never hesitate in referring clients to him. Ed has an intimate understanding of how different areas of law intersect with and affect the criminal proceedings. Ed is also a great resource for other lawyers. He is constantly reporting on new case law, and is very knowledgable about cutting edge areas of law.
Lance Lehman
Lance Lehman
18:03 12 Feb 13
Ed’s knowledge of criminal law is first-rate. His analysis is quick and thorough. His integrity is second to none. I never think twice about whom to call when one of my clients has a criminal law issue and I have never been disappointed with the results.
Stuart Rudner
Stuart Rudner
00:03 12 Feb 13
I have known Ed Prutschi since we were in law school together. When I am asked for a great criminal lawyer, I think of Ed because he is well-known for his advocacy and effectiveness in representing his clients’ interests. Ed demonstrates his vast knowledge through his writing and social media efforts, and his record of success demonstrates that he understands what his clients need and the strategies necessary to achieve it. In addition to knowledge and strategy, Ed brings with him a personality that makes people comfortable at very difficult times in their lives. I have referred people to Ed in the past and have never had any complaints, which is important to me. When I refer someone to another lawyer, I never want to hear that the lawyer was unresponsive or did a poor job. Ed always makes me look good.
Next Reviews

Call Now ButtonCall Now to Discuss Your Case.