Trial judge erred in misapplying parity principle

Tax court of Canada | Appeal


Trial judge erred in misapplying parity principle

Appeal by Crown from sentence imposed on accused after she was convicted of seven counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Accused and her friend encountered vehicle occupied by six males and they flirted with them. Both drivers then engaged in high-speed race on residential street that had posted speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour. Cars collided and were destroyed. Accused’s friend suffered serious injuries. Accused and driver of other vehicle and his passengers were also injured. Accused received suspended sentence and she was placed on probation for two years. She was also subject to two-year driving prohibition. Issue of parity based on sentence imposed on driver of other vehicle was considered. Driver of other vehicle was charged with same offences as accused. He pleaded guilty to one count. His sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for 18 months. Probation included three months of house arrest. He was also subject to one-year driving prohibition. At time of collision accused was 40 and she had no criminal record. Other driver was in his 20s and he also did not have criminal record. Appeal allowed. Sentence was set aside. It was replaced by nine-month custodial sentence and by five-year driving prohibition. Probation order was set aside as there was no reason for it. Trial judge erred in misapplying parity principle. There were important differences between accused and other driver. She further erred by imposing sentence that did not adequately reflect principles of general deterrence and denunciation. These errors led judge to arrive at sentence that was demonstrably unfit.
R. v. Rawn (July 9, 2012, Ont. C.A., Epstein, Weiler and Watt JJ.A., File No. C53457) 102 W.C.B. (2d) 33 (15 pp.).

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