Canadian Criminal Sentencing/Procedure/Victim Impact Statement

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Form of Statement[edit]

It has been suggested that in order for a VIS to be admissible it should contain the following: [1]

  • the statement is to be prepared in writing,
  • the statement is to be in the form and in accordance with procedures established by a program designated for that purpose by the province,
  • the statement is to be authored by a person meeting the definition of "victim" (s. 2 of Criminal Code, previously s.722(4)),
  • the statement is to describe the harm done to, or loss suffered by, the victim arising from the commission of the offence,
  • the statement is to be filed with the Court,
  • the clerk of the Court is to provide a copy of the statement to the prosecution and the defence (s. 722.1 of the Code)

It is important that when considering the VIS that the court maintain its “independent neutrality" by not "react[ing] to public opinion as to the severity of sentences."[2]

  1. R. v. Gabriel (1999), 137 C.C.C. (3d) 1 (Ont. Sup. Ct.) at para. 16
  2. Gabriel at para. 33

Inappropriate Content for a VIS[edit]

The Statement should describe the harm arising out of the offence. It is not an opportunity for the victim to criticize the offender, including his character, assert facts or recommend sentence. Such comments are inadmissible.[1] Nor should there be reference to offences not charged.[2]

There is limited cases where sentence recommendation may be admissible, such as during a sentencing circle.[3]

It has been suggested the follow sort of statements not be permitted:[4]

  1. statements by persons with unidentified connections to the victim or to remote a connection
  2. references to facts that are not accurate
  3. statements speaking of the offender including character[5]
  4. suggesting penalties
  5. seeks personal revenge [6]
  6. promoting an "eye for an eye"
  7. statements that are inflammatory and jeopardize the desired restraint in sentencing[7]
  8. makes diagnoses of the offender[8]
  9. mischaracterizations of the offence or the law
  1. R. v. Gabriel, 1999 CanLII 15050 (ON S.C.) 137 C.C.C. (3d) 1 at para. 16
    R. v. Bremner, 2000 BCCA 345 at 27
  2. R. v. Noor, 2011 BCSC 1629 at 21
  3. Gabriel at para. 29 to 33
  4. Gabriel at para. 48 to 53
  5. e.g.R. v. Walchuk, [2001] S.J. No. 148 (Sask.C.A.)
  6. R. v. Bremner [2000] B.C.J. No. 1096 (B.C.C.A), R. v. Sangha, [2001] A.J. No. 545 (Alta. Q.B.), R. v. D.M.L.G. [2001], S.J. No. 581 (Sask. Prov. Ct.), R. v. Hawley [1999] O.J. No. 5393
  7. R. v. Bremner [2000] B.C.J. No. 1096 (B.C.C.A) calls offender a pedophile
  8. R. v. Bremner [2000] B.C.J. No. 1096 (B.C.C.A) calls him a pedophile

References[edit]