R. v. Knott (D.W.) et al. 2012 SCC 42
Criminal Law - Punishments (sentence) - Probation or probation order - Circumstances when permissible
Section 731(1) of the Criminal Code precluded probation for any accused sentenced to more than two years’ imprisonment. The “sentence merger” provisions of s. 139(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act provided that where an accused subject to a sentence that had not expired received an additional sentence, the accused was deemed to have been sentenced to one sentence which commenced at the beginning of the first sentence and ended when the last sentence expired. Two accused were sentenced to imprisonment not exceeding two years, followed by three years’ probation. Before those sentences expired, both accused were sentenced, for other offences, to consecutive sentences. The accused argued that the “sentence merger” provisions of s. 139(1) applied to result in a total merged sentence exceeding two years, rendering the previously legal probation orders illegal.
In both cases, the British Columbia Provincial Court held that the probation orders remained legal. Both accused appealed. The appeals were heard together.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal, in a judgment reported (2010), 291 B.C.A.C. 236; 492 W.A.C. 236, dismissed the appeal. The court held that “regardless of any length of sentence imposed subsequent to a lawful probation order, the probation order is not nullified nor does it otherwise become unlawful by application of s. 139(1) of the CCRA”. The accused appealed.
The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeals.
Editor’s Note: Certain names in the following case have been initialized or the case otherwise edited to prevent the disclosure of identities where required by law, publication ban, Maritime Law Book’s editorial policy or otherwise.