Canadian Criminal Sentencing/Offences/Homicide

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Legislation[edit]

Murder[edit]

Punishment for murder

235. (1) Every one who commits first degree murder or second degree murder is guilty of an indictable offence and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life.
Minimum punishment
(2) For the purposes of Part XXIII, the sentence of imprisonment for life prescribed by this section is a minimum punishment.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 218; 1973-74, c. 38, s. 3; 1974-75-76, c. 105, s. 5.

CCC


Imprisonment for Life
Sentence of life imprisonment
745. Subject to section 745.1, the sentence to be pronounced against a person who is to be sentenced to imprisonment for life shall be

(a) in respect of a person who has been convicted of high treason or first degree murder, that the person be sentenced to imprisonment for life without eligibility for parole until the person has served twenty-five years of the sentence;
(b) in respect of a person who has been convicted of second degree murder where that person has previously been convicted of culpable homicide that is murder, however described in this Act, that that person be sentenced to imprisonment for life without eligibility for parole until the person has served twenty-five years of the sentence;
(b.1) in respect of a person who has been convicted of second degree murder where that person has previously been convicted of an offence under section 4 or 6 of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act that had as its basis an intentional killing, whether or not it was planned and deliberate, that that person be sentenced to imprisonment for life without eligibility for parole until the person has served twenty-five years of the sentence;
(c) in respect of a person who has been convicted of second degree murder, that the person be sentenced to imprisonment for life without eligibility for parole until the person has served at least ten years of the sentence or such greater number of years, not being more than twenty-five years, as has been substituted therefor pursuant to section 745.4; and

...
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 745; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (2nd Supp.), s. 10; 1990, c. 17, s. 14; 1992, c. 51, s. 39; 1995, c. 22, s. 6; 2000, c. 24, s. 46.


CCC


Manslaughter[edit]

Manslaughter
236. Every person who commits manslaughter is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

(a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and
(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.


R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 236; 1995, c. 39, s. 142.


CCC

Application[edit]

The parole ineligibility dates run from the date of arrest.[1]

  1. s. 746; R v Toor [2005] BCJ 1382 (BCCA) at para. 13

Second Degree[edit]

In Nova Scotia, the parole ineligibility is set within the range of 12 to 15 years.[1]

Only in the extreme cases will the ineligibility be set at between 18 to 20 years.[2]

Murder of a spouse will usually be in the range of 10 to 15 years.[3]

  1. R. v. Hawkins [2011] N.S.J. No. 33
    R. v. Ward [2011] N.S.J. No. 481
  2. R. v. Cerra, 2004 BCCA 594, 192 C.C.C. (3d) 78, at para. 17: (“...parole eligibility greater than 10 years is justified when there is some particularly aggravating feature; for a penalty of greater than 15 years, egregious circumstances of a higher order of moral culpability are present.”)
  3. R. v. Tan (1996), 75 B.C.A.C. 181

Manslaughter[edit]

Most manslaughter cases fall within the range of 4 to 15 years. (R. v. Lawrence (1999), 172 N.S.R. (2d) 375 (NSCA) 2011 NSSC 186 - 4 to 10 years range; R v Brisson, 2009 BCSC 1606 - 4 to 15 years)

Manslaughter runs a broad spectrum of unlawful acts ranging from near accidents to near murders.(R v Laberge (1995), 165 AR 375, [1995] AWLD 588 (CA), at para 6) The distinction is the level of moral culpability.

One factor to moral culpability is the nature of the unlawful act, including the level risk arising from the act and the foreseeability of the risk. This can be divided into three categories:[1]

  • Lowest: risk of bodily harm
  • Mid: risk of serious bodily harm
  • Highest: risk of life-threatening injury


  1. R. v. Valente, 2012 ABQB 151 at 12
    R. v. LaBerge, 1995 ABCA 196

Ancillary Order[edit]

  • DNA Order
  • Weapons Prohibition (Mandatory)

See Also[edit]