BRITISH COLUMBIA

Victim surcharge unconstitutional for homeless man who can't pay it: B.C. judge

07/03/2015 01:48 EDT | Updated 07/03/2016 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - A judge says a mandatory $200 victim surcharge violates a Vancouver homeless man's charter rights.

Bruce Barinecutt argued he can't afford to pay the fine and that it amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

Provincial court Judge Donna Senniw says in a written ruling that Barinecutt was ordered to pay a $100 surcharge for two breaches of a restraining order following an assault allegation.

Senniw says it's unlikely that the man who has 60 previous convictions, has failed to comply with court orders and receives disability benefits would be able to pay the surcharge.

She says Barinecutt does not have the option of doing community service because such a program does not exist in B.C.

Victim surcharges are imposed on offenders when they are sentenced, and the money is funnelled into a fund for victims of crime.