Two appeals (defence appeal from Sohal, 2018 ABQB 845 and Crown appeal from Watson, 2018 ABQB 832) on whether the mandatory minimum 1-year driving prohibition under the CC for impaired driving can be reduced to give credit for pre-trial provincial suspensions. In Sohal, the trial judge imposed a prohibition of 141 days, with credit for 224 days under the provincial suspension, but this was overturned on summary conviction appeal. Watson’s 1-day prohibition (with credit for 367 days on provincial suspension) had been upheld by the summary conviction appeal justice.

Held: Sohal – Appeal dismissed; Watson – Appeal allowed.

“A sentencing judge has no common law jurisdiction to impose a sentence below a constitutionally valid mandatory minimum sentence specified in the Criminal Code… Collateral considerations of fairness or proportionality, including considerations that arise from collateral provincial legislation, cannot be used to reduce the mandatory prohibition in the face of the statutory minimum.”

Y.R. Ziv, M. Oykhman / E. Weisenburger – Defence Counsel