Earlier this year, Tony Paisana and Chantelle van Wiltenburg challenged the constitutionality of two sentencing provisions which significantly limited the availability of conditional sentences (“house arrest”). The challenge was successful on the basis that the laws were overbroad in their scope, capturing offenders that were convicted of less serious offences and who should remain eligible for house arrest. On the basis of counsel’s submissions, ss. 742.1(c) and (e)(ii) were declared of no force and effect.
This decision will have significant ramifications for the criminal justice system in British Columbia. Many offenders will now be eligible for house arrest in appropriate circumstances where they do not endanger the community. This form of sentencing is known for its positive rehabilitative effects. A copy of the decision ruling the sections unconstitutional can be found here.