R. v. Prystay, 2019 Edmonton Queen’s Bench – !3.5 Months Of Solitary Receives 3.75 to 1 Credit


Defence application for a stay or sentence reduction on the basis that indefinite administrative segregation (AS) while in remand custody violated his s. 7 and 12 rights. Accused spent 13.5 months in AS after an assault on another inmate.

Held: s. 12 breach; enhanced credit (3.75 to 1) for time in AS.

“A free and democratic society demands that human dignity and humane treatment and punishment be afforded to all Canadians, including those in the penal system. These basic values cannot be sacrificed in the name of convenience and expediency.” AS placement constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The 13.5 months in AS was excessively long, and placement decisions and reviews were “devoid” of sufficient oversight and procedural fairness. Court concluded that accused also “suffered mental injury and physical symptoms and his placement put him at risk of permanent psychological injury”. Appropriate remedy was a sentence reduction: credit of 3.75 days given for each day in pre-trial AS.

A. Hart-Dowhun – Defence Counsel