Supreme Court quashes mandatory victims’ surcharge for convicted criminals
Justices deem compulsory victim surcharges ‘cruel and unusual punishment’
“The surcharge constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and therefore violates Section 12 of the (Charter of Rights), because its impact and effects create circumstances that are grossly disproportionate to what would otherwise be a fit sentence, outrage the standards of decency, and are both abhorrent and intolerable,” reads the judgment.
Josh Paterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, an intervener in the case, called it a “huge win for fairness in the criminal justice system.”
“Forcing offenders to pay this surcharge even when they had no ability to pay meant that many people were going to jail simply because they are poor,” he said in a statement.
“The court found that this is cruel and unusual punishment that outrages the standards of decency. Even people with a less serious conviction could be dogged for years by collection efforts and the threat of imprisonment due to the fact they could not pay the surcharge.”
SOURCE – https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supreme-court-victims-surcharge-1.4946018