Our Recent Cases
Conditional Sentence for animal cruelty
Our office recently represented a man in the case of R v WH charged with killing a cat. He was charged with sections 445.1 and 445.01. These provisions set out the punishment for causing unnecessary suffering and the killing of an animal.
In the case of R v WH, my client was accused of killing his cat. There were several eye witnesses and video footage the police obtained as part of the investigation. The prosecution had a strong case to lead at trial. I counseled my client on the advantages and disadvantages of proceeding to trial and the same for a guilty plea.
Ultimately, my client instructed me to plead guilty and to keep him out of jail. Once I received that instruction, we both went to work. I had him working on helping me compile a robust mitigation package. I was working on gathering the jurisprudence and drafting an argument to convince the court that jail in an institution was not the only option. Penalties for this type of crime are heavy. In almost every case for a criminal animal cruelty offence, the prosecution seeks jail and a lot of it. Conditional Sentence orders are technically a jail sentence but they are ordered to be served in your home. This is commonly referred to as house arrest. Conditional Sentence Orders typically have many conditions that you must comply with or else there is a risk that the original sentencing judge can collapse the order. If that judge orders a collapse, then you will be sent to prison.
The leading decision on whether a conditional sentence order will meet the sentencing principles as set out in the Criminal Code is R v Proulx, 2005 SCC 5. The Supreme Court interpreted the provisions in section 718 of the Code as a threshold by endorsing a philosophical theory known as just desert theory, which typically implies an obligation and a duty to punish in the first place but also that the punishment must sufficiently be afflictive to be just and appropriate.
Prosecutors are urging lengthy jail sentences every day for a variety of offences including animal cruelty. Recently, our Court of Appeal granted intervener status in a different animal cruelty case for an animal advocate group. Our Court of Appeal is expected to hear arguments on the issue of conditional sentence orders and where the sentencing for animal cruelty should start. This argument is expected in the fall and is expected to have a drastic impact on sentencing for animal cruelty offences.
This case demonstrates how critical it is if you have been charged with an animal cruelty offence to retain an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer in order to get the best possible outcome.
If you are currently facing animal cruelty charges, don’t wait. Contact our team to best protect your freedom.
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