INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
This section outlines how payments made under section 734.8 of the Criminal Code of Canada are to be allocated.
734.8(5) A payment under this section shall be applied firstly to the payment in full of costs and charges, secondly to the payment in full of any victim surcharge imposed under section 737, and then to payment of any part of the fine that remains unpaid.
Section 734.8(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada pertains to the distribution of payments made by offenders towards fines, costs and victim surcharges imposed upon them by the court. When an offender is convicted of a criminal offense, they are often ordered to pay certain fines, costs, and surcharges to the victim of the crime or to the government. These include compensation for damages caused to the victim, the cost of law enforcement and trial proceedings, and a victim surcharge imposed under section 737. Section 734.8(5) specifies the order in which payments are to be applied towards these various payment obligations. According to this section, any payment made by the offender should be firstly directed towards the payment in full of costs and charges, such as those incurred by the victim or the prosecution, followed by payment of the victim surcharge imposed under section 737, and only then towards payment of any part of the fine that remains unpaid. The rationale for this order of priority is that the payment of costs and charges are necessary to cover the expenses related to the victim or the prosecution, which are usually incurred in the course of the investigation and trial. The payment of the victim surcharge imposed under section 737 is meant to address the harm or suffering caused to the victim and their right to some form of restitution or compensation from the offender. Finally, the payment of the fine is the last payment obligation on the offender, and the last payment that remains unpaid after payment of costs and charges and the victim surcharge should be applied to the fine. In summary, section 734.8(5) provides a clear ordering of payment obligations which must be followed in case of conviction. This section ensures that the victims of a crime are compensated, the justice system is funded properly, and the offender is held accountable for their crime.
Section 734.8(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the order in which payments are to be applied when an offender is ordered to pay a fine or restitution for their criminal behaviour. It is an important provision that ensures that payments made by offenders are directed towards the right targets, and that victims and the criminal justice system are prioritized. The first priority for payment under this section is the payment of costs and charges. These costs can include anything from court fees to compensation paid to victims. By paying these costs first, the offender is ensuring that the criminal justice system is properly compensated for their use of resources in their case. This includes costs incurred by the prosecution, police, and the courts. The second priority for payment is the victim surcharge imposed under section 737. This section of the Criminal Code is designed to ensure that victims of crime receive compensation from the offender. The victim surcharge is a mandatory fee that must be paid by all offenders who are convicted of an offense and can be used to support victim services such as counselling or other forms of support. By making this priority payment, the offender is directly supporting the victim and acknowledging the harm they have caused. Finally, any remaining payment is applied to the payment of the fine. While it is important that offenders pay their fines, the fact that it comes last on the list of priorities emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the financial needs of the criminal justice system and victims first. This approach ensures that offenders are held accountable for their actions and that victims receive some form of compensation for the harm they have suffered. Overall, section 734.8(5) is a critical element of the Canadian criminal justice system. It ensures that offenders are held accountable for their actions and that victims receive the support they need. By requiring the payment of costs and charges, the victim surcharge, and then the fine, this provision ensures that payments are directed towards the right targets in a fair and equitable way. The provision also provides clarity on how payments are to be made, which helps to streamline the process and ensure that everyone involved understands what is expected of them. Ultimately, this section of the Criminal Code of Canada is important because it helps to ensure that justice is served.
Section 734.8(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the order in which payments are to be applied when an offender makes a payment towards their fine. The section emphasizes that the payment should be made firstly towards paying off costs and charges, then towards the victim surcharge, before turning towards the unpaid fines. Strategic considerations with regard to this section arise mainly in two scenarios: when an offender has the resources to pay their fine, but the amount owed is high, or when an offender has limited resources and struggles to make the payment. In the former case, the offender may choose to pay off their fine in full to avoid having to make periodic payments and to demonstrate their commitment to their legal obligations. On the other hand, when an offender has limited resources, they may prioritize the payments such that they ensure they are compliant with their legal obligations while minimizing their financial burden. In such cases, offenders may choose to make payments in smaller increments but make sure that their obligations under section 734.8(5) are being met. Another strategic consideration is the order in which the payment is to be made. As per the section, payment should first be made towards costs and charges, which may include fees related to legal representation, court fees, and other related expenses. Once these are paid in full, the payment should be directed to the victim surcharge, a fee that is imposed on offenders as a means of compensating their victims. Finally, if any part of the fine remains unpaid, it may be paid off. In terms of strategies that could be employed, one option for offenders with limited resources is to negotiate with the court to request an extension for payment or a reduction in the fine amount. This is more common when the offender can demonstrate that they are facing financial hardship, and their ability to fulfill their obligations is impaired. Offenders may also choose to prioritize payments based on the impact on their credit score, especially when they need to borrow money in the future. Organizations like the Ontario Credit Union offer services such as the Fresh Start Loan to individuals who have poor credit. This way, by prioritizing payments in ascending order, offenders can improve their credit score in the long run. Alternatively, an offender may choose to pay off their fines in full by borrowing the money from a third party or using installments, such as professional loan services that provide funding for those awaiting litigation resolutions. In cases like these, it is important to ensure that the payments are made in compliance with section 734.8(5), so that the payments can be applied in the correct order of priority. In conclusion, when dealing with section 734.8(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada, offenders need to ensure that they comply with the payment order and properly allocate their resources. Creative financing solutions and negotiating with the court are just some of the strategic considerations that can be employed to help the offender satisfy their legal obligations while minimizing their financial burden.