IF you think carrying a gun is cool, you will have to face the heat even if the temperature has been lowered by the Ontario Court of Appeal that has ruled that the mandatory minimum sentences for possession of firearms – three years for the first offence and five years for repeat offences – introduced by the Conservative government in 2008 are unconstitutional.
The five judges were unanimous in their opinion that the sentences about possession of a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm or unloaded with ammunition easily accessible were “cruel and unusual punishment” and “grossly disproportionate” and violated Section 12 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Now the Crown has to decide if it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
However, the court upheld a one-year mandatory minimum for committing an offence using a firearm whether or not it causes bodily harm.
Of course, other factors also matter.
Earlier this year, drug dealer Brenden Chand, 25, pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm with intent to wound Abdul Aleem Khan, 25, at the Royal Oak SkyTrain Station in March 2011 during rush hour. Khan was shot in the shoulder.
Crown counsel asked the B.C. Supreme Court judge for a “significant” jail sentence because Chand put many members of the public in danger. It is a mandatory five-year sentence for discharge of a firearm.
Justice Mark McEwan handed down a sentence of SEVEN years as he noted: “It is happenstance that Mr. Khan was not killed or that members of the public were not killed or injured. It was a reckless and profoundly disturbing breach of the peace and public safety.”