Supreme Court


Criminal Code does not retroactively invalidate probation orders

Two accused were convicted of offences and given sentences to be followed by order of probation. Both accused committed further offences before their sentences expired and received further sentences of incarceration bringing their total sentence to more than three years. Accused argued that their probation orders became retroactively invalid because Criminal Code provides that probation can only be ordered in combination with sentence of two years or less. Court of Appeal affirmed probation orders. Appeal dismissed. Section 731(1)(b) of Criminal Code does not retroactively invalidate probation orders that validly attached to sentence of two years or less. Where probation order becomes inappropriate because of imposition of intervening lengthy term of imprisonment offender may apply for its termination. Sentencing courts may impose probation when imposing sentence of two years or less on offender serving other sentences but must make unexpired prior sentences important consideration in assessing appropriateness of probation.

R. v. Knott

(July 31, 2012, S.C.C., McLachlin C.J.C., Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Rothstein, Moldaver and Karakatsanis JJ., File No. 33911) Decision at 90 W.C.B. 2(d) 689 affirmed. 101 W.C.B. (2d) 481 (25 pp.).

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