Report on sentencing for manslaughter in cases involving intimate relationships

Background

The issue of sentencing for manslaughter in cases of intimate relationships was originally brought up at the meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Deputy Ministers of Justice in June 2001 in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Prince Edward Island raised the issue because of the public call for stiffer penalties in response to recent sentencing decisions in P.E.I., most notably in the case of R. v. Sheppard. This subject was added to the agenda for the FPT meeting of Ministers of Justice in September 2001 at White Point, Nova Scotia.

The Ministers subsequently decided that the FPT Working Group on Sentencing should investigate this subject and report back in the fall of 2002. A subgroup was formed, composed of members of the FPT Sentencing Working Group and other federal Justice officials from the Research and Statistics Division and the Family, Children and Youth Section (which included members of the FPT Working Group on Spousal Abuse).

A preliminary report was tabled at the FPT meeting of Deputy Ministers of June 4-5, 2002, in Charlevoix, Quebec. That report included only the case law analysis; the final report has now been completed.

The investigation led to five recommendations:

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