TORONTO – A special five-judge panel of Ontario’s highest court is to continue hearing appeals today relating to mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes.
The hearings are focusing on the three-year mandatory minimum sentence for possession of a loaded illegal gun enacted in 2008 as part of the federal Conservatives’ omnibus crime bill.
Court heard yesterday that gun violence in Toronto prompted Ottawa to enact the stiffer mandatory minimum sentences.
And government lawyers are now raising the recent gun deaths of four Toronto-area boys in the six gun-crime cases before Ontario’s Appeal Court.
The case of Leroy Smickle is expected to be central in the week’s arguments.
He was caught alone in his boxers in his cousin’s apartment posing with a loaded handgun while taking pictures of himself to post on Facebook.
The judge in his case ruled that sending him to prison for three years would be cruel and unusual punishment and she struck down the law as unconstitutional.
Federal and provincial lawyers are arguing that Judge Anne Molloy erred in concluding that what Smickle was doing was just “adolescent preening.”