The “candy” sentence of 90 days in prison for an attacker with a knife who had punctured both lungs of his victim was finally increased to 24 months in prison, ruled the Court of Appeal of Quebec last week.
“The assault was a violent, severe and unwarranted act against a stranger. […] The intrinsically vicious nature of the attack and its consequences were apparent at the time it took place and, for these reasons, must be sanctioned by a more severe sentence, ”said Judge Patrick Healy, more high court of the province.
Several errors of principle were noted in the decision of the judge of the Court of Quebec, Joëlle Roy, rendered in October 2019 against Paul-Henri Sylvain.
The victim of the accused, now 40, Ali El Harda, had strongly denounced that his attacker was only sentenced to serve 90 days in prison and perform 200 hours of community service.
Photo courtesy Ali El Harda
“What did it send as a message to society to give such a sentence?” “Wondered Mr. El Harda, qualifying the whole of” candy sentence “.
After assessing the situation, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) decided to appeal this judgment.
“This type of offense generally requires a firm prison sentence in order to send a clear message of deterrence and thus demonstrate the disapproval of society with regard to violent crimes against the person”, could one read in particular in the petition filed by the Crown.
However, the Court of Appeal agreed with the arguments of the DPCP by considering that Judge Roy had made a “marked underestimation” of the situation by imposing an intermittent sentence on Sylvain.
“Given the conduct of the respondent, it is excessively difficult to see in the imposition of an intermittent prison sentence an expression of the principle of denunciation,” notes the magistrate Healy. The imposition of such a penalty would require a convincing demonstration that it is proportional to the objective seriousness of the offense and to the moral culpability of the offender. The sentence imposed is not based on such a demonstration. ”
He notes that in assault cases, most sentences vary from 15 to 24 months, ranging from three to five years in penitentiary in more serious cases.
As Sylvain has already served his 90 days, this total will be deducted from his new sentence.