RULESWATCH

November 20, 2013

Disabilities, Incarceration and Relative Harshness

Filed under: Uncategorized — ruleswatch @ 4:53 pm

R v Myette, 2013 ABCA 371

A blind male was convicted of sexual assault on a female roommate. Evidence given at the sentencing included that the facility where the offender was to be incarcerated could not accommodate his guide dog and that while he might keep his cane, the institution did not otherwise specifically accomodate inmates with blindness.

The trial judge (who a split court of appeal unanimously found had committed a number of errors on sentencing) had imposed an 18 month suspended sentence.

The sentencing judge said,“there is nothing even approaching reasonable accommodation in Alberta for Mr. Myette as a blind, accused convicted of sexual assault. If Mr. Myette were to be incarcerated he would be suffering a significant punishment beyond that suffered by other individuals incarcerated in the Corrections system in Alberta”

The majority of the Court of Appeal citing the errors found in the Judge’s sentencing approach changed the sentence to a 90 day intermittent one. The dissenting judge in the court of appeal, while accepting the errors made in the sentencing, concurred with the trial judge in the result being a 90 day intermittent sentence with probation.

The dissenting judge held, “…I do not think that the trial judge erred including that this was truly an exceptional case such that imprisonment would be disproportionately harsh to the seriousness of the offence and that a term of house arrest would be adequate to meet the ends of justice in this case.”

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