An Ontario judge refused to send a man arrested for possession of a loaded gun to prison for three years on Monday, saying the mandatory minimum sentence in the case would be “outrageous, abhorrent and intolerable.” Striking down the compulsory minimum sentence as unconstitutional for amounting to cruel and unusual punishment, the judge’s decision dealt a serious blow to the Conservative government’s signature item of their tough-on-crime agenda.
According to the National Post, the defendant in the case, Leroy Smickle, was sitting on a couch wearing boxers and a tank top, taking photos of himself holding a gun when police burst in looking for his cousin. Smickle had no criminal record, had a job, a young child and a fiancée. He was charged with possession of a loaded firearm, which carries a mandatory three-year prison time. But Ontario Superior Court Judge Anne Molloy said in her decision that although Smickle was guilty of “colossally bad judgement,” he was not a criminal, and sentenced him to serve five months under house arrest in addition to the equivalent of seven months he had spent in pre-trial custody.