Ontario Criminal

Charter of Rights

Enforcement of rights
Superior Court has jurisdiction to consider applications that have been rendered moot

Accused pleaded guilty to producing marihuana and cannabis resin. Crown originally gave notice that it was seeking mandatory minimum sentence of six months’ incarceration, pursuant to s. 7(2)(b)(i) of Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Can.) (“CDSA”). Accused commenced application in Superior Court challenging constitutionality of s. 7(2)(b)(i) of CDSA (“application”). Prior to hearing of application, Crown informed accused that it would not rely on notice provision contained in s. 8 of CDSA, which rendered application moot. Hearing was held to consider request by accused that court exercise its discretion to hear application. Request by accused rejected; application dismissed. Superior Court does have jurisdiction to consider applications that have been rendered moot. However, this was not one of those rare cases where court ought to consider moot issue. Recent Ontario decision provided thorough and thoughtful analysis of s. 7(2)(b)(i) of CDSA. That decision was being appealed, and appellate review would provide better forum for constitutional challenge. Defence argument that s. 7(2)(b)(i) of CDSA created inflationary floor for sentencing was not satisfactory. Hearing of application would require undue consumption of judicial resources. 

R v. Morris (June 16, 2016, Ont. S.C.J., Mulligan J., Barrie 14-036) 131 W.C.B. (2d) 18.

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