Double credit for time served.
When we were plunged into the justice system I did not understand this law. It stated that accused waiting trial could earn extra time for the days they spend incarcerated. It just did not make sense, why would they deserve 2 for 1 credit. Many law enforcement personnel we spoke with were against this law. The result of this law sent us as family members to court over 25 times to face the person who ripped our young men from us and left us devastated. Criminals can be clever; or at least possess enough sense to know the more they cry foul, the more they drag out the court the more chance they have of someone making a small error in protecting their rights and the whole case could be thrown out or start again from step one. The criminals know to hire lawyers, then fire them to stall for time. They are earning (especially in a high sentence trial such as a murder) 2 days or higher for every day they spend behind bars. If they’re guilty what do they have to lose? So the accused play with the system. Lawyers have to play by the rules of the justice system and make sure the accused rights are never compromised, so the defence lawyers play the game with their clients and the prosecution have to play along with them both. We spoke to members of parliament, went on the local news station, spoke to newspapers and even set up a meeting with the minister of justice. We were joining our voices with others in asking to have this double time credit abolished. The ironic part of the credit is the more serious the crime the higher the credit earned for time incarcerated. Also, no one seemed to understand why this practice was so often accepted and embraced by judges and the legal system. We did not get answers as to the reasoning behind such a ridiculous policy.
The police commission were actually quoted several years later, publicly stating their objection to this extra credit practice when a story was published in the local news. In 2009/2010 Bill C-25 finally became law.
This bill was passed by the Harper Government after several readings. Is it possible our sons stories may have contributed in some small way to a Bill that was long requested by law enforcing agencies, legal personnel and public….
22 OCTOBER, 2009
An Act to amend the Criminal Code (limiting credit for time spent in pre-sentencing custody)
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
1. This Act may be cited as the Truth in Sentencing Act.
2. Section 515 of the Criminal Code is amended by adding the following after subsection (9)
(9.1) Despite subsection (9), if the justice orders that the accused be detained in custody primarily because of a previous conviction of the accused, the justice shall state that reason, in writing, in the record.
3. Subsection 719(3) of the Act is replaced by the following:
(3) In determining the sentence to be imposed on a person convicted of an offence, a court may take into account any time spent in custody by the person as a result of the offence but the court shall limit any credit for that time to a maximum of one day for each day spent in custody.
(3.1) Despite subsection (3), if the circumstances justify it, the maximum is one and one-half days for each day spent in custody unless the reason for detaining the person in custody was stated in the record under subsection 515(9.1) or the person was detained in custody under subsection 524(4) or (8).
(3.2) The court shall give reasons for any credit granted and shall cause those reasons to be stated in the record.
(3.3) The court shall cause to be stated in the record and on the warrant of committal the offence, the amount of time spent in custody, the term of imprisonment that would have been imposed before any credit was granted, the amount of time credited, if any, and the sentence imposed.
(3.4) Failure to comply with subsection (3.2) or (3.3) does not affect the validity of the sentence imposed by the court.