Ottawa lawyer seeks redress for ‘cruel’ victim surcharge

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An Ottawa lawyer wants the Ontario government to give back millions of dollars collected through mandatory victim surcharges, which the Supreme Court of Canada last December described as “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Defence lawyer Michael Spratt, a partner at Abergel Goldstein and Partners, filed an application Thursday under the rules of civil procedure and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms against the attorneys general of Ontario and Canada.

In addition to calling for restitution of all fines collected since 2013 under what Spratt called an “unconstitutional regime,” the application seeks to cancel all victim surcharges imposed — many of which have never been paid.

Spratt said that aspect of the application is the most meaningful, because it deals directly with the problems laid out by the Supreme Court last year when it quashed the mandatory victim surcharges for convicted criminals — a fine one Ontario judge referred to as a “tax on broken souls.”

Read Matthew Pearson’s full story: CBC