December 4, 2007

Conditional sentences eliminated for violent impaired driving crimes

Oakville, Ontario – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada is welcoming a new federal law that will eliminate conditional sentences, such as house arrest, for persons convicted of the violent crimes of impaired driving causing death, and impaired driving causing bodily harm.

The new law amends the Criminal Code to provide that a person convicted of a serious personal injury offense, a terrorism offense or a criminal organization offense prosecuted by way of indictment, for which the maximum term of imprisonment is ten years or more, is not eligible for a conditional sentence.

“Conditional sentences relating to violent crimes have always been an outrageous travesty of justice for the victims and their families and friends,” said Margaret Miller, MADD Canada National President. “We believe a person who has killed or seriously injured must be held accountable for his or her actions, and should not be given the opportunity to avoid the jail time.

“Canadians have been telling their politicians since the new conditional sentencing laws first took effect in 1996 that a conditional sentence for a person convicted of killing or seriously injuring another is not reflecting our society’s values of life. In allowing conditional sentences for violent impaired driving crimes, our system failed Canadians by devaluing the loss of a human life or a human’s quality of life.”

MADD Canada has been demanding the elimination of the availability of conditional sentences for those convicted of impaired driving causing death or bodily harm for more than four years. In 2004, the organization delivered more than 33,000 Canadian petitioners’ names to Parliament Hill.

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