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Sentencing

A sentence is the court ordered consequence for being convicted of a crime. When an offender is found guilty of a crime a Judge decides what their sentence should be.

What does a judge considered in sentencing?

  • The circumstances of the crime
  • The offender’s criminal record and personal history
  • The impact of the crime on the victim outlined in the Victim Impact Statement
  • Maximum and minimum penalties for the crime
  • Decisions of other courts in similar cases
  • Sentencing reports from Offender Supervision and Services, counsellor, psychologist, other professional or community
  • A Gladue Report (if the person is Aboriginal) detailing the offender’s background and making sentencing recommendations

What is a Pre-Sentence Report?

Before sentencing the court can ask Offender Supervision and Services to prepare a pre-sentence report with information about the offender and the case that will help the judge decide the sentence. A pre-sentence report may include information about the offender’s:

  • age, maturity, character
  • attitude, behaviour and willingness to make up for the harm done
  • plans to change behaviour and become a law-abiding member of the community
  • previous history of criminal activity;
  • access to community services, such as counselling and their willingness to participate
  • family supports
  • education and job

The pre-sentence report is property of the court and will be shared with the crown lawyer and the offender’s lawyer.

Types of Sentences

The judge can order many different types of sentences, including:

Other Types of Supervision

There are other types of court ordered supervision of individuals. These include:

Conditions

When an offender is under supervision the court will often order them to follow certain conditions. Offenders face serious consequences if they do not follow their conditions. Conditions can include:

  • Good behaviour
  • Appearing in court when required
  • Reporting to a probation officer
  • Remaining in a specific city, territory or province
  • Curfew
  • Participating in Programming or treatment
  • No drinking or drugs
  • No contact with certain people or places
  • No guns or weapons

Sentences

Absolute discharge

When a person is found guilty or pleads guilty, but the judge decides not to sentence them. The person has no criminal record.

Conditional discharge

When a person is found guilty or pleads guilty, but the judge decides that, on successful completion of specified conditions, the person will not have a criminal record. 

Curative discharge

If a person is found guilty of impaired driving a judge may place the person on probation with strict conditions to complete a treatment program and not drink or use drugs. If the person completes the treatment program and follows their conditions they will not have a criminal record.

Suspended sentence

When a person pleads or is found guilty, but the judge decides to withhold the sentence. He may decide to suspend the sentence conditionally or unconditionally. If the sentence is suspended unconditionally, the offender will never have to serve the sentence that would apply for the offence committed. If the sentence is suspended, the person must be on good behaviour, otherwise he or she will have to serve the sentence.

Fine

All or part of a sentence requiring someone convicted of a crime to pay money to the court. You can pay your fine through the fine options program. You can contact Offender Supervision and Services to set up a payment plan. Call (867) 667-5231.

Conditional sentence

A jail sentence served by the offender in the community. The offender remains in the community under supervision, and is required to follow strict rules (conditions). If the offender disobeys the conditions the Probation Officer must report the breach to the court. A judge can order them to serve the remainder of the sentence in jail.

Probation Order

Probation is a sentence or a part of a sentence that is served in the community. The court may order a period of probation alone, or a period of probation after a prison sentence. The offender must follow the conditions identified in their probation order or face serious consequences.

Intermittent Sentence

When an offender serves their sentence in prison on the weekends and in the community on probation during the week.

Custody

An offender sentenced to custody of less than two years will go the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. An offender sentenced to more than two years will serve their sentence in a federal prison in another province.

 

Other Types of Supervision

Bail

A court order while the accused is awaiting trial. The accused must obey certain conditions (rules) and return to court on a specific date. In some cases, bail orders may require a money deposit or a bail surety.

810 Recognizance (Peace Bond)

According to section 810 of the Criminal Code of Canada, the court may order a recognizance (commonly referred to as a peace bond) for up to 12 months, except in rare cases where it can go up to 24 months.

Parole

Parole is the early release of an offender serving in a federal prison. When an offender is on parole they must follow certain rules (conditions). Parole services are run by the federal government. For information on parole you can phone Correctional Services of Canada at 250.363.3267, or visit the National Parole Board website.

Emergency Intervention Order

An Emergency Intervention Order is a court order used to remove an abusive person from the home. The accused must not have contact with certain people or go to certain places. If they breach the conditions they can be charged with an offense.