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Tom Rees | Criminal Defence Lawyer Winnipeg

British Columbia man granted discharge for Domestic Assault

A British Columbia man was granted a conditional discharge by the Supreme Court of British Columbia for domestic assault. The man was originally convicted and given a suspended sentence. He appealed his conviction and sentence.

The court dismissed the conviction appeal:

[43]    In conclusion, when the Reasons are considered contextually with the evidence and the parties’ arguments, the appellant cannot be left in doubt as to why the conviction was entered. There was a serious conflict in the evidence which the trial judge resolved by accepting [a certain witness’] evidence in preference to the appellant’s. She explained in detail her rationale for arriving at that conclusion in a way that should be intelligible for the appellant and allows for meaningful appellate review. She seized the substance of the issue presented by the case and decided that the appellant’s evidence did not raise a reasonable doubt as to his guilt.

The accused was originally given a suspended sentence, but that was substituted for a conditional discharge.

[73] Considering the totality of the circumstances of this case, I conclude a conditional discharge was a fit and appropriate sentence. The trial judge’s approach to the question of remorse caused her to fall into error and give far too much weight to the sentencing objectives of deterrence and denunciation. In doing so she failed to properly consider the principles of restraint and proportionality. As a first time offender who committed an offence at the lower end of the continuum and has excellent prospects for rehabilitation, [the accused] was entitled to the least restrictive sanction appropriate in the circumstances: R. v. Solowan, 2008 SCC 62 (CanLII), at para. 3. The suspended sentence was thus disproportionate and demonstrably unfit. Accordingly, I would allow the appeal and set aside the 12-month suspended sentence and substitute a conditional discharge. The conditions imposed are the same probation conditions set out in the original sentence and for the same duration and include the s. 110 weapons prohibition. I understand the 12-month period has passed without a breach.

[74] In summary, the conviction appeal is dismissed. The sentence appeal is allowed and the suspended sentence is set aside and in its place I impose a conditional discharge.