R. v. Safarzadeh-Markhali, [2016] 1 SCR 180

The Truth in Sentencing Act reduced enhanced credit for time spent in pre‑sentence custody, which had previously been allowed at a rate of two days for every day of detention, to a mandatory 1:1 ratio for offenders who were denied bail primarily because of a prior conviction. The legislative intent was to “impose longer periods of custody” on repeat offenders, thereby enhancing “public safety and security by increasing violent and chronic offenders’ access to rehabilitation programs.”

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the amended Criminal Code section, noting that the right to liberty must not be infringed in an overbroad manner. Increased periods of incarceration for all repeat offenders were overbroad in that they captured “offenders who do not pose a threat to public safety or security,” and do “not specify or even broadly identify the offences that warrant an endorsement.”

Decided by the Supreme Court of Canada on April 15, 2016.
Click here for the full text of the decision.

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