Deciding on a Sentence
Sentencing decisions are made by the judge based on:
- The law in relation to minimum and maximum sentences in the Criminal Code of Canada and Youth Criminal Justice Act
- decisions of higher courts on similar cases
Judges are also guided by decisions of other judges at the same or lower court levels. They may also consider the victim impact statement, witness statements and victim and witnesses’ testimony when determining the sentence.
Finally, the judge can also request a pre-sentence report. A pre-sentence report is prepared by a probation officer to help the court learn more about the person to be sentenced. The probation officer will usually speak to the person about their education and family background, health concerns and prior convictions. The probation officer may also contact the offender’s family and friends or any other people suggested by the offender who may be able to help the court understand the person and their situation.
Copies of the report will be sent directly to the court, Crown counsel and defence counsel before the sentencing hearing.
Visit Pre-Sentence Reports (Youth Sentence) for information about youth and pre-sentence reports.
For more information, including the types of community and custodial sentences and additional conditions an offender could receive, visit: