section 753(4)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section outlines the possible sentences for offenders found to be dangerous offenders.

SECTION WORDING

753(4) If the court finds an offender to be a dangerous offender, it shall (a) impose a sentence of detention in a penitentiary for an indeterminate period; (b) impose a sentence for the offence for which the offender has been convicted which must be a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years and order that the offender be subject to long-term supervision for a period that does not exceed 10 years; or (c) impose a sentence for the offence for which the offender has been convicted.

EXPLANATION

Section 753(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the consequences for offenders who are found to be dangerous offenders. If an offender is deemed to be dangerous, the court is required to impose a sentence that reflects the severity of the offense and the risk that the offender poses to society. The first option available to the court under this section is to sentence the dangerous offender to an indefinite term of detention in a federal penitentiary. This is the most severe option and is reserved for cases where the offender presents an extremely high risk to the community. The second option available to the court is to sentence the offender for the specific offense they were convicted of, with a minimum punishment of two years' imprisonment. However, the court can also impose a long-term supervision order for a maximum of ten years which will necessitate the offender to comply with specific conditions such as attending counseling or staying away from certain individuals or places. This option allows the offender to be released back into the community but under strict surveillance. The third and final option available to the court is to simply impose a sentence for the offense committed by the offender. This option would be chosen if the offender is not assessed as being dangerous and therefore has no underlying psychological or behavioral issues that pose a risk to the community. Overall, section 753(4) of the Criminal Code serves to protect the Canadian community by providing appropriate restrictions on dangerous offenders, in an effort to prevent them from committing further offenses.

COMMENTARY

Section 753(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that deals with the sentencing options available to the court when an offender is declared to be a dangerous offender." A dangerous offender is an individual who has committed a serious personal injury offence, and whose criminal behaviour is deemed to pose a continued risk to society. The purpose of this provision is to ensure that individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety are removed from the community for a period of time that is commensurate with their risk level. The provision provides three possible sentencing options for dangerous offenders. The first option, set out in subsection (a), is to impose an indeterminate sentence of detention in a penitentiary. This is the most severe punishment available under this provision, and is reserved for the most dangerous of offenders. An indeterminate sentence means that the offender will be detained until the Parole Board determines that he or she no longer poses a risk to society. This sentence is only available when there is no reasonable expectation that the offender can be safely managed in the community at any point in the future. The second option, set out in subsection (b), is to impose a sentence for the underlying offence that resulted in the declaration of dangerous offender status, and order the offender to be subject to long-term supervision for a period of up to ten years. This sentencing option is available when the court determines that the offender can be effectively managed in the community, but requires ongoing supervision to ensure that he or she does not commit further offences. The long-term supervision order is essentially a form of parole that allows the offender to be released from custody subject to a series of conditions that are designed to reduce the risk of reoffending. If the offender violates any of the conditions of the order, he or she can be returned to custody. The third option, set out in subsection (c), is to impose a sentence for the underlying offence and not order any long-term supervision. This sentencing option is generally reserved for cases in which the court determines that the offender does not pose a continued risk to society. However, it should be noted that even in such cases, the offender will still be subject to the ordinary conditions of any sentence, such as probation or conditional sentencing. Overall, section 753(4) is a critical provision in the Criminal Code of Canada that provides courts with a range of options for managing dangerous offenders. While the provision may be controversial, given that it permits the indefinite detention of individuals who have committed crimes, it is important to recognize that it is only applied in the most serious cases, and where there is a clear and present danger to public safety. As such, it is an important tool in protecting the wellbeing of Canadian citizens.

STRATEGY

Dealing with Section 753(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada requires careful consideration of several strategic factors. First and foremost, the safety of the community must be the top priority. The section allows for the imposition of a sentence of detention in a penitentiary for an indeterminate period, meaning the offender may never be released unless they are no longer considered a danger to society. The section also provides for the imposition of a sentence for the offence for which the offender has been convicted, with long-term supervision for a period that does not exceed 10 years. One of the primary strategic considerations when dealing with Section 753(4) is the assessment of the offender's level of dangerousness. This assessment is typically conducted by a forensic psychiatrist or psychologist, who will evaluate the offender's mental health, risk factors, and potential for reoffending. This assessment will inform the court's decision on whether to impose an indeterminate sentence or a term of imprisonment with long-term supervision. Another strategic consideration is the weight given to the principle of rehabilitation. While the safety of the community is paramount, the Canadian criminal justice system also places a high value on rehabilitating offenders and reintegrating them into society. In cases where an offender is deemed dangerous, the court must balance the need for public safety with the potential for rehabilitation. One strategy that could be employed is to seek out programs or resources that may assist the offender in addressing their underlying issues and reduce their risk of reoffending. These may include psychiatric treatment, counseling, and structured living arrangements. The use of plea bargaining can also be a strategic consideration in cases involving Section 753(4). Plea bargaining involves negotiating a guilty plea to a lesser offence in exchange for a more lenient sentence. This strategy may be used to avoid a trial and the risk of an indeterminate sentence, while still holding the offender accountable for their actions. However, it is important to note that the Crown prosecutor may be hesitant to engage in negotiations if there is a strong case for the offender to be designated a dangerous offender. The offender's prior criminal history is also a strategic consideration. Section 753(4) requires that the offender have a history of serious personal injury offences, indicating a pattern of violent behaviour. An offender with a lengthy criminal history may be more likely to be designated a dangerous offender, as they may have a higher risk of reoffending. Conversely, an offender with no prior history of violence may be less likely to be designated a dangerous offender. Finally, Section 753(4) can be a complex and time-consuming process, requiring close collaboration between legal professionals, forensic psychiatrists or psychologists, and other experts. A strategic approach may involve assembling a strong legal team with experience in dealing with dangerous offender cases, and ensuring that all necessary assessments and evidence are conducted in a timely and thorough manner. In conclusion, dealing with Section 753(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada requires careful consideration of several strategic factors, including the assessment of dangerousness, the balance between public safety and rehabilitation, the use of plea bargaining, the offender's criminal history, and the need for a strong legal team. By taking a strategic approach, legal professionals can help ensure that justice is served while protecting the safety of the community.