INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
745.51(1) At the time of the sentencing under section 745 of an offender who is convicted of murder and who has already been convicted of one or more other murders, the judge who presided at the trial of the offender or, if that judge is unable to do so, any judge of the same court may, having regard to the character of the offender, the nature of the offence and the circumstances surrounding its commission, and the recommendation, if any, made pursuant to section 745.21, by order, decide that the periods without eligibility for parole for each murder conviction are to be served consecutively.
Section 745.51(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with the sentencing of offenders who have been convicted of multiple murders. This section gives the presiding judge the authority to order that the periods without eligibility for parole for each murder conviction are to be served consecutively. In other words, the offender will not be eligible for parole until the full sentence for each murder has been served. This provision is significant because it allows the judge to impose a harsher sentence on repeat offenders who have shown a pattern of committing violent crimes such as murder. By ordering consecutive sentences, the judge can ensure that the offender is not released early and potentially poses a risk to the community. The judge is required to take into consideration a number of factors before making the order, including the character of the offender, the nature of the offence, and the circumstances surrounding its commission. The recommendation made pursuant to section 745.21, which deals with the assessment of the risk posed by the offender, must also be taken into account before making the order. Overall, section 745.51(1) serves as a deterrent to offenders who may be considering committing multiple murders and sends a message that the justice system takes such crimes very seriously. It also ensures that those who have already committed multiple murders face the full consequences of their actions.
Section 745.51(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada allows a judge to order consecutive periods without parole eligibility for an offender who has been convicted of multiple murders and is being sentenced under section 745. This provision was introduced in 2011 as part of the Truth in Sentencing Act, which aimed to reduce the use of concurrent sentences and increase the use of consecutive sentences. The use of consecutive sentences is controversial because it can result in extremely long sentences, effectively amounting to a life sentence without the possibility of parole. However, in cases where an offender has committed multiple murders, consecutive periods without parole eligibility may be seen as a necessary measure to protect society and ensure that justice is served. The provision requires the judge to consider several factors before ordering consecutive periods without parole eligibility, including the character of the offender, the nature of the offence, and the circumstances surrounding its commission. The judge must also consider any recommendations made pursuant to section 745.21, which allows for victim impact statements and other evidence relevant to sentencing. The provision has been used in several high-profile cases, including the sentencing of Robert Pickton, who was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years for each count, to be served consecutively. The use of consecutive periods without parole eligibility in this case was controversial, with some arguing that Pickton should have been sentenced to a single life sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years. The provision has also been criticized for potentially infringing on the principle of proportionality in sentencing. Proportionality requires that the punishment be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender. Ordering consecutive periods without parole eligibility may be seen as punishment that exceeds what is necessary to achieve the goals of sentencing, particularly in cases where the offender is unlikely to ever be released from prison. In conclusion, Section 745.51(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada allows judges to order consecutive periods without parole eligibility for offenders convicted of multiple murders. While this provision may be seen as necessary in some cases, it raises concerns about proportionality and infringing on offenders' rights. Judges must carefully consider the circumstances of each case and ensure that the sentence is proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender.
When dealing with Section 745.51(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, there are several strategic considerations that lawyers and judges need to keep in mind. One of the primary considerations is how to balance the protection of the public with the rights of the offender. In cases where an offender has been convicted of multiple murders, there may be a heightened risk to public safety if they are released on parole too soon. However, the offender also has the right to a fair and reasonable sentence that takes into account their character, the nature of the offense, and the circumstances surrounding its commission. To navigate this complex legal landscape, several strategies can be employed. These include: 1. Building a strong case: In order to secure a consecutive sentence under Section 745.51(1), the prosecution must first prove that the offender meets the criteria for such a sentence. This requires a thorough understanding of the offender's criminal record, as well as the specific circumstances of the murders in question. Building a strong case will involve gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and presenting a strong legal argument in court. 2. Negotiating a plea deal: In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a plea deal with the offender that will result in a consecutive sentence under Section 745.51(1). This can be a useful strategy if there is a strong case against the offender but the prosecution is concerned about the risks of going to trial. Negotiations may involve offering reduced charges or a shorter sentence in exchange for the offender's agreement to a consecutive sentence. 3. Engaging experts: Depending on the specifics of the case, it may be necessary to engage the services of one or more experts to provide testimony or evidence in court. These may include forensic psychologists, criminologists, or medical professionals who can shed light on the offender's mental state or other relevant factors. 4. Disputing the sentence: If a consecutive sentence is ordered under Section 745.51(1), there may be grounds to dispute the sentence on appeal. This could involve arguing that the sentence is too harsh or that the judge did not properly consider all of the relevant factors. A successful appeal could lead to a reduction in the sentence or a change in its terms. Overall, dealing with Section 745.51(1) requires a nuanced and strategic approach that takes into account the complex legal and ethical considerations involved. By building a strong case, negotiating effectively, engaging experts, and being prepared to dispute the sentence if necessary, lawyers and judges can navigate this section of the Criminal Code of Canada in a manner that supports both the protection of the public and the fair treatment of offenders.