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CAN JUDGES JUMP JOINT SUBMISSIONS ON SENTENCE?

#53

The law requires that we ensure that any client who pleads guilty to an offence is aware that it is the Judge who sets the sentence, not the lawyers. When the Crown and defence present a joint submission on sentence can a Judge go above or below it? The SCC says the answer is pretty much NO unless doing so would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. “The test he should have applied is whether the proposed sentence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute, or would otherwise be contrary to the public interest. Under the public interest test, a trial judge should not depart from a joint submission on sentence unless the proposed sentence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute or is otherwise contrary to the public interest.”

The link below provides a summary of the court’s decision.

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