The Quebec Court of Appeal said it had no jurisdiction to modify the denial to the accused Isabelle Floor, asking immediate imprisonment instead of paying the mandatory victim surcharge that was imposed by the court.
Lawyers Benoit Gagnon and Marc-André Champagne, legal aid, asking the highest Quebec court to overturn a decision of the Judge Conrad Chapdelaine of the Court of Québec in June 2014. It has rejected the request of attorneys that their client could serve the prison sentence for the non-payment of a fine of $ 600 imposed in surplus at the same time that the punishment being prison.
Isabelle Floor demanded that the surcharge be converted immediately into prison sentence, a prison day equivalent to $ 82 fine, so 7.5 days in the case of the accused. The defense lawyers wanted to give 45 days to pay the surcharge and that a warrant of committal was immediately imposed.
“I am of the opinion that the judge could certainly take up the issue of immediate imprisonment, but unlike that suggests the prima facie case, no call is in the Criminal Code that decision” says Martin Vauclair judge of the Court of Québec on behalf of his two colleagues Jean Bouchard and Jacques J. Levesque.
The three judges consider that the obligation for courts to impose mandatory surcharges complicates the task of the courts.
“It is clear that the repeal of judicial discretion in the imposition of the surcharge results in extraordinary and unnecessary complications for justice and the administration of justice. The provisions on victim surcharge equivalent of a minimum sentence insensitive to the capacity to pay of the offender and having a rigid deadline necessarily postpone the inevitable decision about the consequences default. It must take account of the fundamental dislike of our society to detain indigent fails to pay their debt to the Crown “wrote the judge Vauclair.
The defense attorney Marc-André Champagne analyze the judgment of the Quebec Court of Appeal before determining what direction it will give the Floor file.
“The opinion of the Court of Appeal seems to be in favor of needy people, but she lacked jurisdiction to decide the issue in our case. I will analyze the decision to determine the follow-up, “says Mr. Champagne.