The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday that mandatory minimum sentences for child luring are unconstitutional.
In a decision taken six votes to one, with Justice Suzanne Côté partially dissenting, the Court ruled on two cases from the Quebec Court of Appeal.
In both cases, the mandatory minimum sentences of one year for an indictment and six months for a summary offense were found to be contrary to section 12 of the Charter.
Article 12 states that everyone has the right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
In its ruling, the nation's highest court said the overturning of mandatory minimum sentences was linked to the overly broad nature of the law, rather than an attempt to downplay the crime of luring. ;child.
The scope and extent of the offense means that a defined minimum period of imprisonment in all cases will sometimes produce results so excessive as to outrage standards of decency, the judge said Sheilah Martin, who spoke on behalf of the majority.
The invalidation of mandatory minimum sentences does not mean that the decoy child is a less serious offense, we add.
Given the distinct and insidious psychological harm that child luring causes, in some cases the appropriate punishment for child luring will be a term of imprisonment equal to or greater than that provided by the unconstitutional mandatory minimum sentences.
Despite this decision, in both cases, the guilty parties were given longer sentences during their journey before the courts. courts.
In the first case, Maxime Marchand met his 13-year-old victim when she was 22, sent her a friend request on Facebook and remained in contact with her for two years. The couple met and had illegal sex on four occasions.
Mr. Marchand pleaded guilty to one count of luring a child and one count of sexual touching. At sentencing, he challenged the one-year mandatory minimum sentence for child luring, saying it violated Article 12.
In the second case, H.V., whose name is covered by a publication ban to protect the victim, pleaded guilty to one count of child luring for sending sexual text messages to the victim over a 10-day period.
H.V. also challenged the constitutionality of the six-month mandatory minimum sentence imposed for summary conviction for luring.
Although the Supreme Court agreed to After hearing the cases in both cases, she modified Marchand's sentence, increasing it from five months to one year and requiring that it be served after the sentence for sexual assault, rather than at the same time. time.
With information from CBC News and Le Devoir