R v Martin, 2018 Leduc Provincial Court – Discharge Rejected For Illegal Sale Of Tobacco


43-year old accused pleaded guilty to possession of unstamped tobacco for the purpose of sale under s. 121.1(1) CC. 68,000 grams of flavoured contraband tobacco were seized which translated to about $25,000 in avoided taxes. Accused was remorseful and of prior good character. Defence sought a conditional discharge.

Held: $1500 fine + VFS imposed.

Factors in MacFarlane, 1976 AltaSCAD 6, considered. The offence was serious, and the acts were planned and deliberate, attracting a high degree of moral blameworthiness. As to whether the offence should be a matter of public record, the Court recognised that the conduct at stake was “traditionally treated as a regulatory offence, thereby not attracting a criminal record…. However, our society’s views regarding the dangers associated with tobacco use have crystallized over the last decades…. Given the nature of the offence committed, and the circumstances surrounding its commission, denunciation and general deterrence are important factors in this sentencing.” A discharge would not be a proportionate sentence.

C. Steeves – Defence Counsel