Her Majesty the Queen v. Rosaire Poulin

(Quebec) (Criminal) (By Leave)


Charter of Rights – Benefit of lesser punishment – Interpretation – Criminal law – Appeal from sentencing judgment – Whether Quebec Court of Appeal erred in holding that s. 11(i) of Charter makes it possible to impose punishment that was inapplicable both at time of commission of offence and at time of sentencing – Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 11(i).


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The respondent, Mr. Poulin, was convicted in 2016 of sexual assault and of committing acts of gross indecency. The victim, Mr. Poulin’s nephew, was between the ages of 7 and 15 at the time of the incidents, which occurred between 1979 and 1987. The Court of Québec rendered its sentencing decision in 2017. It held that, under s. 11(i) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, an accused has a right to the benefit of the lesser punishment that applied during the period between the commission of the offence and sentencing. On the basis of that conclusion, Mr. Poulin was sentenced on the counts of gross indecency to two years less a day to be served in the community. The court suspended the passing of sentence on the count of sexual assault. The Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed the Crown’s appeal. It agreed with the Court of Québec that an accused has a right to the benefit of the lesser punishment that was applicable between the time of the offence and the time of sentencing.

Lower Court Rulings

November 30, 2016
Court of Quebec

2016 QCCQ 15824, 460-01-027981-145
Sentencing judgment – R.P. given conditional sentence of two years less day
January 11, 2018
Court of Appeal of Quebec (Montréal)

2018 QCCA 21, 500-10-006465-171
Appeal by Crown from sentencing judgment dismissed