Pubdate: Sat, 20 Sep 2014
Source: Observer, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2014 Carlyle Observer
Author: Neil Bowen
Page: A2


The imposition of mandatory surcharges on a woman continuing to 
struggle with drug abuse and mental illness was ruled 
unconstitutional by a Sarnia judge on Thursday.

Stacey Corrine Bressette, 30, of Sarnia pleaded guilty to the July 14 
violation of a probation order to keep the peace when she was in a 
home where she was not welcome.

Justice Mark Hornblower sentenced her to 15 days in jail, time that 
had been served in pre-sentence custody, and a year's probation. But 
he would not impose the mandatory $100 victim fine surcharge.

Bressette could not pay $100 or even $1, said Hornblower, as he ruled 
the surcharges unconstitutional.

Prior rulings by two other judges declaring surcharges to be cruel 
and unusual punishment, and therefore unconstitutional, were cited by 

People in Bressette's circumstances could not have been imagined by 
MPs when they passed the surcharge legislation that became effective 
in October 2013, said Hornblower.

Hornblower invited MPs into the courtroom on any day to see the 
circumstances of people for whom such surcharges would be cruel and 
unusual punishment.

Bressette had been undergoing a mental health assessment since coming 
into the court on the most recent charge in July.

At that time, an initial psychiatric assessment declared Bressette 
unfit to stand trial.

On Thursday, following an assessment and treatment including 
medication, she was doing well, said defence lawyer Robert McFadden.

"I am feeling fit . . . off narcotics," said Bressette.

But when told she must rely on assistance from the Canadian Mental 
Health Association for treatment and medication, Bressette said she 
could get medications on the street.

Probation orders requiring her to take treatment have been imposed on 
Bressette many times during the past but they don't seem to be 
working, said Hornblower.

"We're not giving up. You (Bressette) have to do your part," said Hornblower.
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