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R. v. Sharma: law prohibiting conditional sentence for Indigenous woman a Charter breach – Law Times

by ahnationtalk on July 28, 2020320 Views

28 Jul 2020

In a case involving an Indigenous woman convicted of drug trafficking, the Ontario Court of Appeal has struck down two criminal code provisions which denied her a conditional sentence.

In R. v. Sharma, Cheyenne Sharma was convicted after pleading guilty to importing a large quantity of cocaine from South America. On appeal, Sharma argued the laws denying her access to a conditional sentence were counter to her rights under s. 7 and s. 15 of the Charter. In a 2-1 majority Court of Appeal Justices Kathryn Feldman and Eileen Gillese agreed. They found ss. 742.1(c) and 742.1(e)(ii) of the Criminal code, in their effect, discriminate against Indigenous offenders on the basis of race and are arbitrary and overbroad relative to their purpose. Justice Bradley Miller dissented.

The Criminal Code provisions denied a conditional sentence – known colloquially as house arrest – to those convicted of offences carrying a maximum sentence of at least 14 years or those with a maximum sentence of 10 years which involve the import, export, trafficking or production of drugs.

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