R v Collingwood Prime Realty Holding Corp, 2020 ONSC 2953

Criminal - jail sentence - whether to impose 

Para 70: Lastly, in deciding whether a jail sentence is imposed, I am in the position of a judge at first instance. The COVID-19 crisis must be taken into account. In this case, the public interest in a jail sentence, gauged by the short 45 day intermittent sentence imposed by the sentencing justice, was not strong. On the other hand, the threat to an individual in jail presented by the virus has been well-documented and is not insubstantial: R. v. Williams2020 ONSC 2237 at paras. 65-89. This militates against a jail sentence for Mr. El-Hinn.

Para 71: I am heartened in this conclusion by the knowledge that in response to the virus threat in the jails and in order to reduce capacity, the Ministry of the Solicitor General has seen fit to provide immediate Temporary Absence Program admission to all those offenders facing intermittent sentences (see RESPONSE TO COVID-19 INFORMATION NOTE, Ministry of the Solicitor General, Institutional Services Division, Assistant Deputy Minister’s Office, May 5, 2020, p. 8). Those individuals with intermittent sentences will not have to serve time in correctional institutions.

Para 72: I am aware of the general distaste for considering post-sentencing decisions by jail and parole administrators in crafting a sentence. But the decision of the authorities here is significant for what can be drawn from it with respect to the state of our prisons. The judgment of those in charge of the jails who have the most up to date and reliable information supports the conclusion that at present, there is an additional hardship and threat to inmates in prison. This fortifies the conclusion that the individual and collective cost of an intermittent jail sentence in the time of COVID-19 outweighs any benefit to the public interest.