Appeal from global sentence of 8 years’ incarceration after accused pleaded guilty to charges including aggravated assault, robbery, and dangerous driving. Appellant suffered from serious mental illness that factored significantly into the commission of the offences.

Held: Appeal allowed.

“[A]n offender who has a significant mental illness is generally considered to have less moral blameworthiness than someone operating with an unimpaired view of the world. It is therefore imperative that a sentencing judge appreciate the extent and manifestation of the illness and link it to the degree of moral blameworthiness” as well as the role the illness played in the offence: Tremblay, 2006 ABCA 252; Ayorech, 2012 ABCA 82. Sentencing judge erred by “failing to consider the mental illness as calling for leniency” and treating “substance induced bipolar disorder” as an aggravating factor. Resulting sentence demonstrably unfit. Sentence of 2 years less a day from sentencing date plus 3 years probation substituted (appellant had 38 months pre-sentence credit). Martin, JA dissented.

J. Cunningham – Defence Counsel