TORONTO – Ontario’s highest court begins hearing a number of landmark cases today on mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes.
A special five-judge panel of the Court of Appeal for Ontario will hear six different cases raising similar issues the rest of this week.
The panel will consider the constitutionality of minimum sentences for several gun-crime laws.
Critics in the legal community say mandatory minimums don’t reduce crime and do more harm than good.
Both the federal and provincial governments will be arguing in support of the harsher sentences, which they say were enacted in response to an increase in illegal handguns.
It’s likely that arguments will centre around the case of Leroy Smickle.
The judge in his case declared a three-year minimum sentence for illegal possession of a loaded handgun unconstitutional.
Smickle was alone in his boxers in his cousin’s apartment posing with the gun while taking pictures of himself to post on Facebook when police burst in, looking for his cousin.