The Supreme Court of Canada on April 25, 2014 in Ottawa. The Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear the case of a Yukon man whose sentence was more than doubled after the Crown appealed his original one. (Adrian Wyld/CP file)

Supreme Court of Canada declines to hear Yukon man’s case

Wesley Quash went to country’s highest court after sentence more than doubled following Crown appeal

The Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear the case of a Yukon man whose sentence was more than doubled after the Crown appealed his original one.

Canada’s highest court dismissed Wesley Quash’s application for leave to appeal on Oct. 31.

The court does not provide reasons for dismissing cases.

Quash was convicted of aggravated assault in Yukon territorial court last year after slashing another man in the face with a pocket knife in Whitehorse in 2016.

Territorial court judge Michael Cozens originally sentenced Quash to 10 months in jail followed by 30 months’ probation, writing that Quash’s “significant cognitive deficiencies and limitations,” among other things, meant he could not be held “accountable for his actions to the same degree that someone without such deficiencies and limitations can be.”

The Crown appealed the sentence, with two out of three Yukon Court of Appeal judges agreeing that Quash’s sentence was “demonstrably unfit” and upping it to two years in jail instead, with credit for time already served.

Cozens, the majority ruled, had placed “undue emphasis” on the role Quash’s cognitive limitations had played in the crime, and had also determined the wrong sentencing range for the offence.

(The single dissenting judge wrote that Cozens had been in the best position to determine an appropriate sentence.)

Quash’s lawyer took the case to the Supreme Court of Canada this past summer, arguing that the Yukon Court of Appeal was setting too high of a bar in requiring offenders to prove casual and direct links between their cognitive limitations and crimes in order for the limitations to be taken into account at sentencing. He also argued that the appeal court had erred in using examples from jurisdictions outside of the Yukon to establish sentencing range.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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