Published In

Alberta Law Review

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2010

Subjects

Canada; Criminal law; Homicide; Family violence; spousal homicide; femicide Sentencing

Abstract

This article examines sentencing trends over the past 18 years for men who kill their intimate partners. Using a sample of 252 cases, the article demonstrates that periods of parole ineligibility for second degree murder rose significantly after the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Shropshire but have more recently levelled off to a range that is still higher than the pre-Shropshire era. With respect to manslaughter, changing social attitudes and the amendments to the Criminal Code making the spousal nature of the crime an aggravating factor have resulted in increasingly severe sentences for spousal manslaughters. While a large number of the cases in this sample involved the intoxication of the accused and/or the victim, the defence of intoxication rarely reduced murder to manslaughter. Similarly, the number of successful provocation defences was lower than expected.

Included in

Criminal Law Commons

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