A man walks pass the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick A man walks pass the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

The Supreme Court of Canada says a law that makes people convicted of crimes pay surcharges to help victims is unconstitutional.

In a 7-2 decision delivered this morning in Ottawa, the Supreme Court found the mandatory victim surcharge amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

The court says the surcharge creates a crushing financial burden on poor people and places them under constant threat of being arrested and jailed if they do not pay.

Judges have been forced to impose a one-size-fits all punishment that does not take into account the individual’s ability to pay, the court says.

Read more: Confusion surrounds controversial victim surcharge fees

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

The decision means no victim surcharges can be imposed in any conviction, starting immediately.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Ceremony to honour National Day of Remembrance on Dec. 6

The ceremony took place at noon on the plaza outside of the Comox Valley Art Gallery.

Scholarships created in honour of Comox Valley man who died in plane crash

Awards related to indigenous studies and the environment will be offered in memory of Micah Messent

Province announces new school for Hornby Island; $27 million in upgrades to Lake Trail

Upgrades to Lake Trail include a $1.5-million child care centre

Cumberland rejects parking variance for proposed building

Council agrees to other variance for height change in mixed-use building

MARS receives the gift of an X-ray machine

Country Animal Hospital in Courtenay donated the machine and processing machine to MARS

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Grinch strikes Town of Comox’s Christmas lights

Someone made their way down Comox Avenue and cut wires for the Town’s Christmas decorations.

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read