Two accused pleaded guilty to multiple counts of arson. Fires were set in dumpsters, partially constructed homes, and an abandoned building. Both accuseds were very low-functioning and assessed as having “borderline intelligence”. Issue regarding constitutionality of s 742.1(c) CC in removing the option of a conditional sentence order (CSO) for arson.

 Held: No s 12 or s 7 violation.

“The crucial reason for the failure of the section 12 argument is that there is no requirement of a minimum jail sentence in every case; it is still open to the Court, in exceptional cases, to suspend the passing of sentence and place the offender on probation”. Arson is a serious offence typically resulting in jail time of 12 to 30 months for comparable cases. Similarly, no s 7 violation for overbreadth due to the availability of other sentencing options. Parliament intended denunciation and deterrence to be paramount.

M. Takada, B. Leung – Defence Counsel