Pubdate: Fri, 06 Nov 2015
Source: Metro (Vancouver, CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Metro Canada
Author: Matt Kieltyka
Page: 1


Action in Response to Eastside Man's 1-Year Sentence

A Vancouver man's fate hangs in the balance as two British Columbia 
groups urge the new Liberal government to repeal mandatory minimum sentences.

Joseph Lloyd, a Downtown Eastside resident, convicted of possession 
for the purpose of trafficking after being arrested with less than 10 
grams of drugs on him, was supposed to face a mandatory one-year jail 
term because of legislation enacted by the Conservative government in 2012.

However, a provincial court judge declined to impose the mandatory 
minimum sentence on Lloyd because it could amount to cruel and 
unusual punishment.

The federal government appealed and won, and Lloyd's challenge 
against the policy is now scheduled to go before the Supreme Court of 
Canada in January.

Two intervenors in the case, Pivot Legal Society and Union of B. C. 
Indian Chiefs, have called on Justin Trudeau's newly elected Liberals 
to repeal the policy, which they say is harmful, imposes 
disproportionately harsh punishments and doesn't take offenders' 
circumstances into account.

Smith said there are similar cases across every jurisdiction in Canada.

Mandatory minimum sentences "are bad public policy," said Adrienne 
Smith, Pivot's health and drug policy lawyer.

"These laws are on the book right now and would be an order of 
Parliament to repeal them. Technically, there is time (before Lloyd's 
scheduled appearance)."

It's not known how the Liberal government will proceed, but Smith 
said she's been encouraged by comments Liberal MPs have made around 
drug reform.

Vancouver Granville MP Jody Wilson- Raybould, new Minister of Justice 
and Attorney General, was in meetings during her first official day 
on the job and unavailable for comment, her spokesperson told Metro.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom