R. v Wesslen, 2015 ABCA 74
Alberta has become known for imposing lengthy periods of imprisonment for serious assaults. The federal government has impacted these types of sentences by removing discretion from our judges and by passing amendments to the Criminal Code, which remove other sentencing options such as Conditional Sentence Orders, sometimes thought of house arrest.
Balfour Der recently fought for and convinced a brave and Honourable Judge of our Provincial Court - Jurisdiction of Calgary to properly analyze the facts for an aggravated assault and impose a sentence that met all of the principles as outlined in the Criminal Code. At sentencing, the Crown Prosecutor sought a period of imprisonment for 12 to 18 months. The sentencing judge agreed with defence counsel and imposed a 90-day intermittent sentence to be served on the weekends with a lengthy period of probation to follow.
The Crown appealed the sentence. In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeal of Alberta upheld the sentencing judge's decision. The Court of Appeal noted that the twin goals of sentencing could be achieved in the manner the sentencing judge imposed.
This decision serves as an important reminder that lengthy periods of imprisonment are not always required or appropriate sentences. The Criminal Code requires that all of the principles of sentencing be analyzed and applied in an appropriate manner.
Balfour Der and Lisa Burgis know how to research and present criminal cases. Their skill and expertise is unique. They are diligent in their work and tenacious in achieving results for their clients.