Mandatory Minimum Sentencing: Cases That Should Have Gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, But Didn’t!

Welcome to Cases That Should Have Gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, But Didn’t! This week, lawyer Kyla Lee discusses mandatory minimum sentencing.

Acumen Law Corporation lawyer Kyla Lee gives her take on a made-in-Canada court case each week and why these cases should have been heard by Canada’s highest court: the Supreme Court of Canada.


James Forcillo was a police officer in Toronto. He was ultimately convicted of attempted murder after a trial for second-degree murder involving a case of a man who pulled a knife on a Toronto streetcar. The streetcar had emptied and there was a stand-off with police officers and the knife-wielding man. Officer Forcillo shot the man ten times in total, causing his death.

At the trial, the jury acquitted him of second-degree murder but convicted him of attempted murder which carried a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. Officer Forcillo challenged the constitutionality of the mandatory minimum sentence, arguing that an earlier Supreme Court of Canada decision indicating that a four-year minimum sentence was not cruel and unusual punishment.

The SCC was asked to revisit its earlier decision and consider whether a five-year sentence was cruel and unusual punishment.

The SCC declined the opportunity to do so.

Watch the video for more.

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