R. v. Smith (E.D.), (1987) 75 N.R. 321 (SCC)

JudgeDickson, C.J.C., McIntyre, Chouinard, Lamer, Wilson, Le Dain and La Forest, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateJune 25, 1987
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1987), 75 N.R. 321 (SCC);JE 87-810;[1987] 5 WWR 1;34 CCC (3d) 97;40 DLR (4th) 435;AZ-87111047;75 NR 321;[1987] CarswellBC 198;[1987] 1 SCR 1045;31 CRR 193;15 BCLR (2d) 273;2 WCB (2d) 303;[1987] SCJ No 36 (QL);58 CR (3d) 193;1987 CanLII 64 (SCC)

R. v. Smith (E.D.) (1987), 75 N.R. 321 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

.........................

Edward Dewey Smith v. Her Majesty the Queen and Attorney General for Ontario

(18561)

Indexed As: R. v. Smith (E.D.)

Supreme Court of Canada

Dickson, C.J.C., McIntyre, Chouinard, Lamer, Wilson, Le Dain and La Forest, JJ.

June 25, 1987.

Summary:

The accused returned to Canada from Bolivia with seven and a half ounces of cocaine with an estimated street value of $126,000 to $168,000 in his possession. The accused pleaded guilty to importing a narcotic contrary to s. 5(1) of the Narcotic Control Act and was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment. The accused appealed on the ground that the seven year minimum mandatory sentence for importing was unconstitutional pursuant to s. 12 of the Charter (cruel and unusual punishment and treatment).

The British Columbia Court of Appeal, in a decision reported at (1984), 11 C.C.C.(3d) 411; 39 C.R.(3d) 305, dismissed the appeal. The court held that s. 5(2) of the Narcotic Control Act was not inconsistent with the Charter and that the eight year sentence imposed by the trial judge was not inappropriate.

Lambert, J.A., in a dissenting judgment opined that s. 5(2) of the Act violated s. 9 of the Charter because the mandatory minimum sentence imposed by Parliament without consideration of the individual offender or the circumstances of the offence was an arbitrary determination rendering the resulting imprisonment arbitrary. The accused appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, McIntyre, J., dissenting, allowed the appeal and remitted the matter back to the Court of Appeal for sentencing. The court held that the seven year minimum mandatory sentence for importing was inoperative because it constituted cruel and unusual punishment under s. 12 of the Charter. The court held that the section was not saved by s. 1 of the Charter.

McIntyre, J., dissenting, stated that the minimum sentence of seven years' imprisonment under s. 5(2) of the Narcotic Control Act was not degrading to human dignity, unnecessary for the achievement of a valid social aim or arbitrary.

Civil Rights - Topic 3543

Detention and imprisonment - Imprisonment - Arbitrary imprisonment - What constitutes - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the issue of arbitrariness in relation to the minimum mandatory seven year imprisonment in s. 5(2) of the Narcotic Control Act - The majority of the court held that arbitrariness is a minimal factor in determining whether a punishment or treatment is cruel and unusual - See paragraphs 61 to 63; 80 and 81; 113 to 118.

Civil Rights - Topic 3821

Cruel and unusual punishment - What constitutes cruel and unusual punishment - General - The Supreme Court of Canada per Lamer, J., stated that the protection provided by s. 12 of the Charter (the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual punishment or treatment) "governs the quality of the punishment and is concerned with the effect that the punishment may have on the person on whom it is imposed" - See paragraph 53.

Civil Rights - Topic 3821

Cruel and unusual punishment - What constitutes - General - The Supreme Court of Canada per Lamer, J., stated that the test to be applied to determine whether a punishment is cruel and unusual within the meaning of s. 12 of the Charter is "whether the punishment prescribed is so excessive as to outrage standards of decency; the effect of the punishment must not be grossly disproportionate to what would be appropriate" - The court stated that to determine "whether a sentence is grossly disproportionate, the court must consider the gravity of the offence, the personal characteristics of the offender and the particular circumstances of the case in order to determine what range of sentence would be appropriate to punish, rehabilitate or deter the particular offender or to protect the public" - See paragraphs 54 and 55; 78 and 79; 97.

Civil Rights - Topic 3829

Cruel and unusual punishment - What constitutes cruel and unusual punishment - Minimum sentences - [see Civil Rights - Topic 8548 below].

Civil Rights - Topic 8348

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Exceptions - Reasonable limits prescribed by law - Section 5(2) of the Narcotic Control Act imposed a seven year mandatory minimum sentence for importing narcotics - The Supreme Court of Canada held that s. 5(2) was of no force and effect because it constituted cruel and unusual punishment or treatment under s. 12 of the Charter - The court held that s. 5(2) was not saved by s. 1 of the Charter because although the prevention of importation was a valid constitutional purpose, the means to achieve the result, the seven year mandatory minimum sentence, was unconstitutional - See paragraphs 69 to 73.

Civil Rights - Topic 8548

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Interpretation - Particular phrases - Cruel and unusual treatment or punishment - An accused pleaded guilty to importing a narcotic contrary to s. 5(1) of the Narcotic Control Act, when he brought 71/2 ounces of cocaine into Canada from Bolivia - The trial judge sentenced the accused to eight years' imprisonment - Section 5(2) of the Narcotic Control Act imposed a seven year mandatory minimum sentence for importing - The accused appealed - The Supreme Court of Canada, per Lamer, J., allowed the appeal - The court held that the mandatory minimum seven year sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment under s. 12 of the Charter and was therefore of no force and effect - See paragraphs 52 to 76; 83; 87 and 88.

Civil Rights - Topic 8583

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Practice - Who may raise Charter issues (incl. standing) - An accused pleaded guilty to importing cocaine into Canada contrary to s. 5(1) of the Narcotic Control Act - Section 5(2) of the Act imposed a seven year mandatory minimum sentence for a conviction under s. 5(1) - The accused appealed on the ground that the mandatory minimum sentence was unconstitutional because it was cruel and unusual punishment under s. 12 of the Charter - In a dissenting judgment, a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada discussed the issue of standing in relation to raising the constitutional validity of a statute - See paragraphs 91 to 93.

Narcotic Control - Topic 1064

Penalties - Imprisonment - Mandatory minimum - Importation - [see Civil Rights - Topic 8548 above].

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Bell, [1983] 2 S.C.R. 471; 50 N.R. 172; 8 C.C.C.(3d) 97; 36 C.R. (3d) 289; 3 D.L.R.(4th) 385, consd. [para. 8].

R. v. Konechny (1983), 10 C.C.C.(3d) 233, refd to. [paras. 18 and 98].

R. v. Shand (1976), 30 C.C.C.(2d) 23, consd. [paras. 18, 98 and 111].

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103; 65 N.R. 87; 14 O.A.C. 335; 50 C.R.(3d) 1; 24 C.C.C.(3d) 321; 26 D.L.R.(4th) 200, consd. [para. 20].

Reference Re Section 94(2) Motor Vehicle Act (B.C.), [1985] 2 S.C.R. 486; 63 N.R. 266; [1986] 1 W.W.R. 481; 24 D.L.R. (4th) 536; 23 C.C.C.(3d) 289; 48 C.R.(3d) 289; 36 M.V.R. 240, consd. [paras. 22 and 80].

R. v. Dick, Penner and Finnigan, [1965] 1 C.C.C. 171 (Man. C.A.), refd to. [para. 28].

Kleinys, Ex parte, [1965] 3 C.C.C. 102 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 28].

Laporte and R., Re (1972), 8 C.C.C.(2d) 343 (Que. Q.B.), refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. Natrall (1972), 32 D.L.R.(3d) 241 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 28].

Matticks, Ex parte (1972), 10 C.C.C.(2d) 438 (Que. C.A.), affd (1973), 15 C.C.C.(2d) 213 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. Hatchwell (1973), 14 C.C.C.(2d) 556 (B.C.C.A.), affd [1976] 1 S.C.R. 39; 3 N.R. 571, refd to. [para. 28].

Rojas and R., Re (1978), 40 C.C.C.(2d) 316 (Ont. H.C.), refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. Buckler, [1970] 2 C.C.C. 4 (Ont. Prov. Ct.), refd to. [para. 29].

Dowhopoluk v. Martin (1971), 23 D.L.R. (3d) 42 (Ont. H.C.), refd to. [para. 29].

R. v. Roestad (1971), 5 C.C.C.(2d) 564 (Ont. Co. Ct.), refd to. [para. 29].

McCann v. R., [1976] 1 F.C. 570; 29 C.C.C.(2d) 337, refd to. [paras. 30 and 95].

R. v. Miller and Cockriell (1975), 24 C.C.C.(2d) 401; 33 C.R.N.S. 129; 63 D.L.R.(3d) 193; [1975] 6 W.W.R. 1, affd. [1977] 2 S.C.R. 680; 11 N.R. 386; 31 C.C.C.(2d) 177; 70 D.L.R.(3d) 324; [1976] 5 W.W.R. 510, consd. [paras. 32 and 96].

R. v. Shand (1976), 29 C.C.C.(2d) 199, consd. [paras. 36 and 105].

R. v. Miller and Cockriell, [1977] 2 S.C.R. 680; 11 N.R. 386; 31 C.C.C.(2d) 177; 70 D.L.R.(3d) 324; [1976] 5 W.W.R. 510, consd. [paras. 38, 78 and 96].

Mitchell and R., Re (1983), 6 C.C.C. (3d) 193 (Ont. H.C.), refd to. [paras. 45 and 96].

Moore and R., Re (1984), 10 C.C.C.(3d) 306 (Ont. H.C.), refd to. [paras. 45 and 96].

Belliveau v. R., [1984] 2 F.C. 384; 13 C.C.C.(3d) 138 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 45].

Piche v. Solicitor General of Canada (1984), 17 C.C.C.(3d) 1 (F.C.T.D.), refd to. [para. 45].

R. v. Langevin (1984), 3 O.A.C. 110; 11 C.C.C.(3d) 336 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [paras. 45 and 98].

Gittens, Re, [1983] 1 F.C. 152; 68 C.C.C.(2d) 438 (T.D.), refd to. [paras. 45 and 96].

R. v. Tobac (1985), 20 C.C.C.(3d) 49 (N.W.T.C.A.), refd to. [paras. 45 and 96].

R. v. Simon (No. 3) (1982), 69 C.C.C.(2d) 557 (N.W.T.S.C.), refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Kroeger (1984), 13 C.C.C.(3d) 277 (Alta. C.A.), refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Krug (1982), 7 C.C.C.(3d) 324 (Ont. Dist. Ct.), refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Slaney (1985), 56 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 1; 168 A.P.R. 1; 22 C.C.C.(3d) 240 (Nfld. C.A.), refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Randall and Weir (1983), 58 N.S.R.(2d) 234; 123 A.P.R. 234; 7 C.C.C.(3d) 363 (N.S.C.A.), refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Lewis (1984), 4 O.A.C. 98; 12 C.C.C.(3d) 353 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Lyons (1984), 65 N.S.R.(2d) 29; 147 A.P.R. 29; 15 C.C.C.(3d) 129 (N.S.C.A.), refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161; [1985] 3 W.W.R. 481; 18 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 18 D.L.R.(4th) 321, consd. [paras. 49 and 93].

Solem v. Helm (1983), 463 U.S. 277, refd to. [paras. 58, 98 and 103].

Furman v. Georgia (1972), 408 U.S. 238, refd to. [paras. 62 and 100].

Southam Inc. v. Hunter et al., [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145; 55 N.R. 241; 55 A.R. 291; [1984] 6 W.W.R. 577; 11 D.L.R. (4th) 641; 14 C.C.C.(3d) 97; 41 C.R.(3d) 97; 9 C.R.R. 355; 33 Alta. L.R.(2d) 193, refd to. [para. 70].

R. v. Videoflicks Ltd. et al., [1986] 2 S.C.R. 713; 71 N.R. 161; 19 O.A.C. 239; 30 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 55 C.R.(3d) 193, refd to. [para. 93].

R. v. Edwards Books - see R. v. Videoflicks Ltd. et al.

North Carolina v. Pearce (1969), 395 U.S. 711, refd to. [para. 93].

Gooding v. Wilson (1971), 405 U.S. 518, refd to. [para. 93].

Hobbs et al. v. State (1893), 32 N.E. 1019, refd to. [para. 95].

R. v. Bruce, Wilson and Lucas (1977), 36 C.C.C.(2d) 158 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 96].

Trop v. Dulles (1958), 356 U.S. 86, refd to. [para. 97].

Coker v. Georgia (1977), 433 U.S. 584, refd to. [paras. 98 and 103].

People v. Broadie (1975), 371 N.Y.S. 2d 471, refd to. [para. 98].

Carmna v. Ward (1978), 576 F. 2d 405, refd to. [para. 98].

Gregg v. Georgia (1976), 428 U.S. 153, refd to. [para. 102].

Watts v. Indiana (1949), 338 U.S. 49, refd to. [para. 110].

Roncarelli v. Duplessis, [1959] S.C.R. 121, refd to. [para. 114].

Levitz v. Ryan, [1972] 3 O.R. 783 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 114].

R. v. Simon (No. 1) (1982), 68 C.C.C.(2d) 86 (N.W.T.S.C.), refd to. [para. 114].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Bill of Rights, R.S.C. 1970, App. III, sect. 2(b) [paras. 13, 28, 29, 30, 34, 39, 41, 42, 57, 111].

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 1 [paras. 22, 50, 51, 61]; sect. 7 [paras. 14, 15, 21, 22, 26, 52, 58, 60, 61, 119, 120]; sect. 9 [paras. 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, 58, 60, 61, 119]; sect. 12 [para. 4 et seq.].

Narcotic Control Act, R.S.C. 1970, c. N-1, sect. 2 [para. 10]; sect. 5 [para. 12]; sect. 5(1) [para. 5]; sect. 5(2) [para. 2 et seq.].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Berger, S., The Application of the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause Under the Canadian Bill of Rights (1978), 24 McGill L.J. 161, p. 170 [para. 96].

Canadian Sentencing Commission Report of the Canadian Sentencing Commission, Sentencing Reform: A Canadian Approach (1987), p. 188 [para. 73].

Tarnopolsky, W., Just Deserts or Cruel and Unusual Treatment or Punishment? Where Do We Look for Guidance? (1978), 10 Ott. L. Rev. 1, pp. 28 [para. 96]; 32-33 [paras. 44, 106].

Counsel:

A.P. Serka and Ann Cameron, for the appellant;

S. David Frankel and James A. Wallace, for the respondent;

John C. Pearson, for the intervener the Attorney General for Ontario.

Solicitors of Record:

Serka & Shelling, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the appellant;

Frank Iacobucci, Ottawa, Ontario, for the respondent;

Attorney General for Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervener.

This appeal was heard on December 10, 1985, before Dickson, C.J.C., McIntyre, Chouinard, Lamer, Wilson, Le Dain and La Forest, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada was rendered on June 25, 1987, in both official languages when the following reasons were delivered:

Lamer, J. (Dickson, C.J.C., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 76;

Wilson, J. - see paragraphs 77 to 85;

Le Dain, J. - see paragraphs 86 to 89;

La Forest, J. - see paragraph 90;

McIntyre, J., dissenting - see paragraphs 91 to 123.

Chouinard, J., because of his death, took no part in the decision.

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