Joint Submissions on Sentencing in Canadian Criminal Cases

It is open for the Crown and Defence to agree on a joint position on sentencing to present to the Court. However it is up to the Judge on whether to accept this joint position. There are key principles at play in this context including the following highlighted below.

A joint position on sentence following a guilty plea should only be rejected in rare cases because such positions are vitally important to the well-being of our criminal justice system, as well as our justice system at large. Given that such positions help to resolve the vast majority of criminal cases in Canada and promote a fair and efficient criminal justice system, deference to those positions should be the rule, not the exception. The effective and efficient operation of our criminal justice system relies on litigants enjoying a high degree of confidence that joint positions will be accepted when guilty pleas are entered.

While joint positions are not immutable , they should only be interfered with in exceptional circumstances. The question is not whether a joint position results in a fit or a demonstrably unfit sentence, but whether the proposed sentence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute, or is otherwise not in the public interest. *

William Poulos, Barrister

* This blog is not a substitute for legal advice. Should you require legal advice a lawyer should be consulted to advise on the specific circumstances of your case.

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