Mandatory minimums were created to provide an automatic punishment for certain crimes, including drug trafficking, child exploitation, and sex crimes. But crimes are not committed in rigid situations. A court has many, sometimes conflicting, aspects to consider for a case in which the mandatory minimum is too severe a punishment.
Such is the case of Dylan Scofield.
Dylan William Scofield, aged 26, pleaded guilty in May 2015 to two sexual interference charges involving 15-year old girls. He had met the two girls Online in 2013, and although they had consented to having sexual relations with Scofield, they were minors. This made the act illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada. Moreover, the two girls are suffering in the act’s aftermath. One of them admitted to struggling with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Scofield, on the other hand, has a low IQ that affects his maturity level, giving him the reasoning and judgment of a younger person. This reduced his culpability, as Justice Gary Weatherill took into account the close-in-age exception that was introduced in 2008 when the legal age of sexual consent in Canada was raised. Canadian law dictates that 14 and 15-year-olds are able to give their consent to sexual acts if their partner is up to four years older than them. Although Scofield was in reality six years older than the girls at the time, he had the mentality of a 14-year-old.
Scofield was also a first-time offender and has not committed any other crimes since being released on bail.
After taking into account all of the factors of the case, Weatherill sentenced Scofield to a six-month conditional service. Although the Crown wanted to restrict Scofield for five years from being within two kilometres of the victims’ homes, Weatherill restricted Scofield from directly and indirectly contacting the victims, as well as using online dating services without adult supervision. Scofield’s name will be listed in the sexual offender registry and he will be forced to submit a DNA sample.
Should Scofield go against his conditional sentence order, he will have to serve his remaining time in jail.
Weatherill found that the courts are continually wasting time and money because of the mandatory minimums introduced by the Conservative government in 2012 for an omnibus crime bill. Scofield’s case is one of many that demonstrates the need to reform the minimums.
Parliament sought to make imprisonment the sole punishment for all sexual offenses against minors, but each case is composed of different circumstances that need to be considered. Thus, the B.C. Supreme Court believes the mandatory minimums should have exceptions and safeguards added to them.
The Federal Government is working on the reforms and have civil servants monitoring court cases that challenge the constitution regarding sentencing regimes.
Being arrested for sexual interference or other charges places a great amount of stress on you and your loved ones. Our lawyers at Sicotte and Sandhu are here to alleviate your worry by helping you through all legal processes and guarding your privacy. Whether you’re in Surrey or Peace River, contact us today for a free consultation.