Saturday, June 12, 2010

Equality of Punishment

of the Canadian Criminal Code reads in part: "A court that imposes a sentence shall also take into consideration the following principles: (a) a sentence should be increased or reduced to account for any relevant aggravating or mitigating circumstances relating to the offence or the offender . . ."

When sentencing someone convicted of a crime, judges consider many things -- the background of the accused, motivation, physical ability to endure prison, financial ability to pay a fine, the efficacy of the proposed punishment, and so on.

Applying court reasoning, this is a plea for equality of punishment for parking and driving offences. A thousand dollar fine may annoy a wealthy person. It would devastate a poor one. There is no equality of punishment. To bring such about, vehicles will be categorized by their cost, as there is a co-relation between the cost of the car and the owner's income.

If the fine for a parking offence is $30 for the owner of a basic car, the fine for the operator of an extravagant model may be $100 or more for the same offence. And the others in between.

The same thinking applies for driving offences. Finland assesses speeding tickets in proportion to the violator's income. Fees, fines and costs varying with ability to pay constitutes acceptable, indeed desirable, discrimination.

No comments: