SCC's review of mandatory victim surcharges 'long overdue'
Jun 6, 2017 By Matthew Friedberg
The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to look at whether mandatory victim surcharges are constitutional is much needed, and will hopefully provide a clear direction for judges' discretion to impose the fines, says Toronto criminal lawyer Matthew Friedberg.
"I think it’s long overdue that the high court will review the constitutionality of victim fine surcharges," he tells AdvocateDaily.com.
Without any discretion for how it's imposed, the victim surcharge is "like a tax grab" against offenders, some of whom are the most indigent in society, says Friedberg, a partner with Caramanna Friedberg LLP.
"Punishment doesn’t necessarily dictate a fine. Like any other aspect of sentencing, a surcharge has to be tailored to the individual person. But like some mandatory minimum sentences that don’t always fit the offence or the offender, victim fine surcharges often don’t fit the offence or the offender."