Updated: Dec 20, 2020
In this case, the issue concerns the trial judge’s application of the totality principle in sentencing. The totality principle states that when consecutive sentences are imposed – that is, sentences served one after another – the sentencing judge must consider whether the total sentence imposed is proportionate to the culpability of the offender. In plain terms, the total time must fit the crime and the totality principle helps ensure a proper fit.
Mahmoud Hannora, the 27-year appellant in this case, was sentenced to seven total years of incarceration for three crimes. He received three years for the first charge, one year for the second charge, and three years for the third charge. These three sentences were ordered to be served consecutively as opposed to concurrently – all at the same time.
Hannora appealed the sentence imposed arguing that a seven-year total incarceration period was disproportionate to the crimes he committed in this case. While he had a criminal record prior to this sentencing, the longest sentence he had ever served prior was 330 days. Hannora enjoyed family support during the proceedings, he accepted sincere and remorseful responsibility for his actions, and the judge even described Hannora in a pre-sentencing report as a mature person trying to better himself.
After having determined an appropriate sentence for each count, and that the sentences should be served consecutively, the judge was required to apply the totality principle in asking whether seven years would exceed Hannora’s criminal culpability for his crimes while also considering any mitigating factors. He failed to do so, and so committed an error in principle which impacted the delivered sentence according to the Court of Appeals for Ontario.
To correct this error, and based on precedent cases, the Court imposed that the sentences on charges one and two be served concurrently to charge three. Meaning, Hannora would serve four years in incarceration total – a three-plus-one-year sentence served at the same time as a three-year sentence. Read the full case HERE
Listen to the full case HERE
Adam is a 2L J.D. candidate at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law. Reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.