Dilemmas in Canadian Sentencing Law

H. Archibald Kaiser


In the first lecture of our Mini Law School series, we look at dilemmas in Canadian sentencing law.

"What we see on the news tends to be the 'bottom line' of the judge's sentence," explains Professor Kaiser. "What we don't often have access to are the full reasons given by the court, and this can be really frustrating for members of the public who may perceive a sentence as being 'too lenient'. But sentencing isn't as easy as you might think! You can't just say 'lock them up and throw away the key'—among other things, you have to consider the protection of society and how that is best achieved, the pain of victims, the rehabilitation and reintegration of most offenders, and the messages that the sentence sends. In my lecture, I'll review the context and the basic law on sentencing and then present some fairly typical scenarios to get participants thinking about what would be an appropriate sentence, given the law and our legal system, and we'll work through how a decision must be rationalized before it's handed down."


Criminal Law; Sentencing

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