SCC ruling won't bring flood of lighter sentences

Apr 22, 2015 By Matthew Friedberg

The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling against a law that sets out mandatory minimums for gun crimes is a fair and just decision, but it likely won’t result in a flood of convicted people receiving lighter sentences for these offences, says Toronto criminal lawyer Matthew Friedberg. 

“The ruling is an implicit recognition of the conventional wisdom in legal circles that mandatory minimums don’t accomplish what they were intended to do,” he tells “This decision is a victory for people of the view that mandatory minimums shouldn’t be imposed and that judicial discretion should be exercised.”

Friedberg emphasizes, however, that the decision won’t bring major changes to the way most convicted persons are sentenced because the SCC noted that the ranges that were part of the law are fair in most cases that come before the courts.

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