New crime laws would have made no difference in cab killer case

- April 4th, 2012

The good news is there are new laws on the way under the Harper government’s omnibus crime bill that will help hold young punks who break the law more accountable for their actions.
The bad news is I don’t see anything in the changes that would have much — if any — effect on criminals like the then-14-year-old who smashed a stolen SUV into cabbie Antonio Lanzellotti in 2008, killing him.
There are new provisions in the act that would require the court to consider options such as adult sentences in certain cases, especially for prescribed violent crimes and for patterns of offending behaviour. But they’re not mandatory.
The court will also, under the changes, have to consider the sentencing principles of deterrence and denunciation, which is good. That will likely, in some cases, turn what may have been non-jail sentences into incarceratory ones.
And in some cases the courts will have to consider lifting publication bans on the names of some young offenders, although they will never be obligated to.
I don’t see anything in the changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, though, that would have had any material impact on offenders like the one who killed Lanzellotti. In that case, the Crown asked for an adult sentence, but the court refused. I suppose one could argue that with the new deterrence and denunciation principles added to the act, a judge may agree to an adult sentence more readily if the court has to consider those principles.
But it still leaves the decision in the hands of the judge and it’s not a slam dunk by any means.
The offender in the Lanzellotti case already got the highest sentence allowable under the YCJA for the crime he committed — three years for criminal negligence cause death. So the deterrence and denunciation principles would have had no impact there.
Beyond that, there are a few other changes to pre-sentence custody rules and several other non-related amendments. But there’s nothing I can see in the new YCJA provisions that would have made any real difference in this offender’s sentence.
I stand to be corrected. But from where I sit, I don’t see any.
Which is exactly why we need a major overhaul of this act.

Categories: Politics

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2 comments

  1. Dean says:

    Why does the court have to “consider” pushing young violent/killers as an adult? It should be automatic. My 5 year old knows what is right and wrong. This mommy was mean to me crap has got to stop. Do the crime do HARD time.

  2. aaa says:

    It would now seem that unrestricted hunting rights were not enough, now the SCJ’s in Ottawa, have approved unrestricted hurting rights. Perhaps it’s time they relocated to Winnipeg to appreciate a touch of reality, rather than the rarified air they’re breathing in their ivory towers. Talk about sending the wrong message to a public that is questioning all judges and their personal interpretations of the law .

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