Supreme Court of Canada won't hear appeal of 2 mandatory firearm sentences in Nunavut
The Supreme Court of Canada says it won't hear an appeal that would have challenged mandatory firearm sentencing in Nunavut.
Cedric Ookowt and Simeonie Itturiligaq both had their original sentences doubled by the Nunavut Court of Appeal in 2020 because their initial sentences of two years less a day were lighter than the law required.
They were seeking to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
At the time, mandatory minimums meant judges were supposed to impose sentences of at least four years for some firearms offences.
Ookowt's and Itturiligaq's charges both involved firing a bullet into a home in Baker Lake and Kimmirut, Nunavut, respectively. In Ookowt's case, the bullet missed someone by inches; in Itturiligaq's case, the home was unoccupied.
The judges who originally sentenced them ruled Canada's four-year minimum sentences violated their Charter rights against cruel and unusual punishment, but the Crown appealed those decisions. In 2020, a panel of three judges found both decisions flawed for different reasons.
In both cases, the appeal panel doubled the sentence but then stayed the jail terms, since Itturiligaq was nearing the end of his sentence and Ookowt was already out of jail.
Case information on the Supreme Court of Canada's website shows their attempts to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada were delayed in early 2021 when the federal government signalled its plans to do away with some mandatory minimum sentences.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court officially dismissed Itturiligaq's and Ookowt's request for the court to hear their appeal. The court did not give a reason for the dismissal.