TORONTO - An Ontario judge has declared another plank of the Conservative government's 2008 omnibus crime bill unconstitutional.
Superior Court Judge Alan Bryant struck down a section of the Criminal Code dealing with dangerous offenders in a decision published today.
The section reverses the traditional onus on the Crown and requires an offender, in certain circumstances, to prove that he or she is not a dangerous offender, a designation that can see someone locked up for the rest of their lives.
This particular provision applies to offenders who have been convicted three times of a specified violent or sexual crime with sentences of at least two years.
Bryant found that a burden on the offender to prove they do not have a pattern of dangerous behaviour and won't cause injury or pain in the future is too onerous and violates the charter.
That provision was part of the government's 2008 Tackling Violent Crime bill, including mandatory minimum penalties for firearm offences, some of which have also been declared unconstitutional by Ontario courts.
A spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General noted the rest of the dangerous offender sentencing regime is not affected by the ruling.
The case at the heart of the challenge returns to court on Oct. 16 to set a date for sentencing, so spokesman Brendan Crawley said he could not comment further.
Related on HuffPost:
The 9 Key Changes In The Tory Crime Bill
With files from <em>The Canadian Press</em>. (CP/Alamy)
9. Bringing Prisoners Home
Provides the government, through the minister of Public Safety, more discretion to decide if a Canadian imprisoned abroad can transfer home to serve his or her sentence. (Getty)
8. Rights For Terror Victims
Introduces new measures to allow victims of terrorist acts to sue responsible individuals, groups or state sponsors in Canadian courts. (Alamy)
7. Denying Work Permits
Gives the Immigration minister new powers to deny work permits to foreigners based on the rationale they may be exploited. (Alamy)
6. Victims Get More Say In Parole
Provides victims of crime more say in parole decisions under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Increases size of parole board by 25 per cent. (Alamy)
5. Fewer Conditional Sentences
Reduces sharply the use of conditional sentences, such as house arrest, for a variety of property and other offences. (Jupiter Images)
4. Pardons Harder To Get
Changes the pardons system and makes certain ex-convicts, such as some sex offenders and repeat offenders, ineligible for life. Essentially doubles the waiting period for pardon eligibility to five years for summary offences and 10 years for indictable offences. Replaces the term "pardon" by "record suspension." (Alamy)
3. Harsher Sentences For Young Offenders
Sets tougher penalties for young offenders, including mandatory consideration of adult sentences and possible publication ban removal for violent crimes. Expands the definition of violent crime to include reckless acts that don't actually cause harm. (Alamy)
2. Mandatory Minimums For Sex Crimes
Establishes new mandatory minimum sentences and longer maximums for sex crimes against minors, including the addition of two new offences related to grooming or luring minors. (Alamy)
1. Mandatory Minimums For Drug Crimes
Provides new mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences related to production and distribution, including mandatory sentences for growing as few as six pot plants. Doubles maximum sentences to 14 years from seven. Offers potential exemptions for those entering drug treatment programs. (Getty)