CAPCJ / ACJCP

Keeping Up Is Hard to Do:
A Trial Judge’s Reading Blog

R. v. Gaudet, 2021 PECA 15, November 10, 2021, at paragraphs 13 and 14:

Reasons for sentence need not be lengthy and in fact can be pithy, but they do need to deal with the material facts and issues in dispute.  Read in context with the evidence and submissions of counsel, reasons need to make the foundation of the decision discernable. 

The issues of premeditation/impulsivity, mental health, remorse, and incidence of crime are relevant and material.  One can only arrive at a proper proportionate sentence upon making findings on these issues.  In this case, these issues were not reconciled in the stated reasons for judgment.  As a result, the reasons do not inform the reader – the offender, the public, the appeal court – whether those integral factors were decided, and if so how they were weighed in the decision-making process.  Absent those explanations, the reasons rendered leave the impression that they were not reconciled, and that appears to have led the sentencing judge to focus too much attention on one issue; Gaudet’s youthfulness.  This constitutes an error in principle which had an impact on sentence.  As a result, the sentence should be set aside.