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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 September 2020
This paper argues that lower courts have used their discretionary powers provided within legislation and St-Cloud to infuse a predominantly retributive interpretation into the public confidence in the administration of justice ground of pre-trial detention. This is illustrated notably by their choice of and weight afforded to the various aggravating and mitigating factors, the circumstances that relate to the commission of the offence, as well as their analysis of the length of imprisonment. This transfer of sentencing rationales, and to a greater extent, retributivism, into the third ground of pre-trial detention is used, in part, to justify pre-trial detention and can partially explain the rates of pre-trial detention. Finally, the underlying sentencing logic within the bail process can be understood within a sociological perspective, which examines the wider social functions of institutions and suggests that the bail process is an extension of punishment that serves to reinstate social order and public confidence.
Cet article soutient que les tribunaux de première instance ont utilisé leurs pouvoirs discrétionnaires prévus par la législation et par l’arrêt St-Cloud pour diffuser une interprétation essentiellement rétributive du critère de confiance du public envers l’administration de la justice comme motif de détention provisoire. Ceci est notamment visible dans le choix des différents facteurs aggravants et atténuants et dans le poids qui leur est accordé par les tribunaux, aux circonstances liées à la commission de l’infraction, ainsi que par leur analyse de la durée de l’emprisonnement. Ce transfert des justifications de la peine, et plus extensivement des principes rétributivistes, vers le troisième motif de détention provisoire est utilisé, en partie, pour justifier la détention provisoire. Un tel transfert peut donc expliquer, du moins partiellement, les taux de détention provisoire. Finalement, la logique de détermination de la peine sur laquelle s’appuie le processus de mise en liberté sous caution peut être comprise à travers une perspective sociologique, qui permet d’appréhender les fonctions sociales plus larges des institutions et qui suggère que le processus de mise en liberté sous caution est une extension de la peine qui sert à rétablir l’ordre social et la confiance du public.
This article is part of a wider project on bail and pre-trial detention generously funded by the France-Canada Research Fund in collaboration with Sacha Raoult and Arnaud Derbey, Aix-Marseille Université. The authors presented a preliminary version of this paper at the Biennial Conference Series on Criminal Law and Criminal Justice in May 2019 and are grateful for the invaluable comments provided by the organizers, including Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Anne-Marie Boisvert, Julie Desrosiers and Margarida Garcia. Any errors remain our own.
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2 Cheryl Marie Webster, Anthony N. Doob, and Nicole M. Myers, “The parable of Ms. Baker: Understanding pre-trial detention in Canada,” Current Issues in Criminal Justice 21, no. 79 (2009): 79–102.
3 Ibid; Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Education Trust, Set up to fail: Bail and the revolving door of pre-trial detention (Canadian Civil Liberties Association, July 2014).
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5 England and Wales: Bail Reform Act 1976, 1976 Chapter 63. New Zealand: Bail Act 2000, 2000 No 38. United States, federally: Amendment VIII, Bill of Rights, 1791 and 18 US Code Chapter 207: Release and Detention Pending Judicial Proceedings.
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7 R v Hall, 2002 SCC 64,  3 SCR 309.
9 R v St-Cloud, 2015 SCC 27,  2 SCR 328.
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11 For instance, although there are guidelines for s. 718.2(e), an analysis of court decisions is relevant to understand their implementation and their relationship to the over-representation of Indigenous people in prisons. Denis-Boileau, Marie-Andrée and Sylvestre, Marie-Eve, “Ipeelee and the duty to resist,” Canadian Criminal Law Review 21 (2017): 286Google Scholar.
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13 R. v. Gottfriedson (1906), 10 C.C.C. 239 (B.C. Co. Ct.); Re N. (1945), 87 C.C.C. 377 (P.E.I.S.C.).
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17 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s 11(e), Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982, (UK), 1982, c 11.
18 R v Morales,  3 SCR 711 at 732.
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25 “Table 35-10-0027-01 Adult Criminal Courts, number of cases and charges by type of decision,” Statistics Canada, last modified February 4, 2020, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3510002701.
26 Ontario Court of Justice, “Criminal Bail Statistics by Region,” 2018, https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/files/stats/bail/2017/2017-Bail-Region.pdf.
27 Research and Statistics Division, “Trends in bail courts across Canada,” Department of Justice Canada, last modified December 17, 2018 <https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/jf-pf/2018/dec01.html>.
28 The first-instance requirement excludes bail reviews, appeals, and bail decisions pending an appeal, consistent with this study’s aims.
29 Stuart and Harris, “Public confidence ground.”
30 The language of “judges,” “judiciary,” “courts,” and “justices of the peace” is employed interchangeably since, in most provinces, they share decisional jurisdiction in bail.
31 The sole case in which it was not clear on which ground the accused was detained was not counted amongst the 93.
32 R v Heffernan, 2016 CanLII 96685 (ON SC).
33 R v Jameel, 2016 BCPC 115.
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41 Fish, “Eye for an eye,” 63, 64.
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48 von Hirsch and Ashworth, Proportionate Sentencing, 5.
49 Sylvestre, “(Re)discovery of the proportionality principle.”
50 R v Pham, 2013 SCC 15,  1 SCR 739.
51 R v Gladue,  1 SCR 688; R v Ipeelee, 2012 SCC 13,  1 SCR 433; R v Nasogaluak, 2010 SCC 6,  1 SCR 206.
52 von Hirsch, “Philosophy of punishment;” von Hirsch and Ashworth, Proportionate sentencing.
53 von Hirsch, “Philosophy of punishment.”
54 Sylvestre, “(Re)discovery of the proportionality principle.”
55 This differs from the wording in Canadian sentencing under s. 718.2(a), which recognizes aggravating and mitigating factors relating to the offence or the offender. Including factors that relate to the offender can widen mitigating factors rooted in objectives outside desert. Sylvestre, “(Re)discovery of the proportionality principle.”
56 E.g. R v Fleming, Jody, 2017 CanLII 33611 (NL PC) at para 24, the court included blame and harm: “Drug traffickers, whether dealing in cocaine or in prescription drugs, are having an adverse effect on the public.”
57 Criminal Code RSC 1985, S. 515(10)(c)(iii).
58 St-Cloud, para 61.
59 R v Adafia,  OJ No 7109 where a judge discussed the spectrum of seriousness when firearms are involved.
60 Rankin, “St-Cloud silver lining.”
61 R v Demosten, 2017 BCPC 345.
62 R v MacKinnon, 2016 CanLII 20538 (NL PC)
63 R v Jorgensen,  NJ No 310.
64 Her Majesty the Queen v Darcy Oake, 2017 NWTSC 41.
65 R v Denny, 2015 NSPC 49.
66 Von Hirsch, “Philosophy of punishment,” 56; Manson, Law of sentencing.
67 Ipeelee, paras 59 and 72.
68 Gladue para 65.
69 Sylvestre, “(Re)discovery of the proportionality principle,” 477.
70 Stenning, Philip and Roberts, Julian V., “Empty promises: Parliament, the Supreme Court, and the sentencing of Aboriginal offenders,” Saskatchewan Law Review 64, no. 1 (2001), 159Google Scholar.
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75 Denis-Boileau and Sylvestre, “Ipeelee and the duty to resist.”
76 R v Penosway, 2018 QCCQ 8863.
77 R v Kajuatsiak, 2016 CanLII 760 (NL PC).
78 R v Rich, 2009 NLTD 69 (CanLII).
79 R v Louie, 2017 BCPC 54.
80 R v Wright,  OJ No 1375.
81 R v Mills, Dion Patrick, 2016 CanLII 87424 (NL PC).
82 R v Purcell, 2016 CanLII 1737 (NL SC).
84 Roberts, Julian and von Hirsch, Andrew (ed.), Previous convictions at sentencing: Theoretical and applied perspectives (Portland: Hart Publishing 2010)Google Scholar. Roberts suggests that a person who commits the offence after having been charged, convicted, and sentenced should be aware of this previous legal censure and thus respect the law. Failing to do so denotes greater blameworthiness.
85 R v Pipping, 2016 BCPC 485.
86 R v Morrison, 2016 BCPC 176.
87 R v Fleming, Jody, 2017 CanLII 33611 (NL PC).
88 R v Alexander, 2015 ONCJ 585.
89 R v Purcell,  NJ No 453.
90 R v Hoang, 2016 ONCJ 518.
91 An important consideration is the burden of proof. Except for the breach of the long-term supervision order, the accused bore the burden that they should be released; only two of them showed cause.
92 For breaches of probation, under 733.1, the maximum is four years if proceeding by indictment. Breaches of a recognizance or of an undertaking carry a maximum of two years if proceeding by indictment per 145(3). A breach of a long-term supervision order carries a maximum sentence of ten years per 753.3(1).
93 First and second-degree murder, breaking and entering, and trafficking in fentanyl all carry maximum sentences of life imprisonment.
94 Mills, Dion Patrick.
95 R v Roberts, 2015 CanLII 32464 (NL PC).
97 , Sylvestre et al., “Spatial tactics in criminal courts: 1359”; Erin Murphy, “Manufacturing crime: Process, pretext and criminal justice,” Georgetown Law Journal 97, no. 6 (August 2009): 1449Google Scholar.
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100 Ibid. at 280.
101 Ibid. at 220.
102 Combessie, “Paul Fauconnet” ; Fauconnet, La responsabilité, 223.
103 Combessie, “Paul Fauconnet”; Manikis and De Santi, “Punishing while presuming innocence.”
104 Rankin, “St-Cloud silver lining.” The Code requires that the person arrested be brought before a justice within twenty-four hours. It is common for a bail judge to hear twenty to thirty bail applications daily. This requires rapid decisions with limited information.
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