R v Sheppard, 2020 ABCA 455
On December 11, 2020, the Alberta Court of Appeal in Calgary released a bail decision in the case R v Sheppard, in which the accused was convicted at trial of intentionally discharging a firearm into the home of his former girlfriend, knowing that she was in the home, and sentenced to six years in prison.
The accused was in administrative segregation (also described as protective custody) for most of the 479 days that he was on remand at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre. On appeal, the accused argued that the time in administrative segregation was cruel and unusual punishment and he ought to have received greater credit for that time.
When the sentencing judge tallied up how much pre-trial credit the accused deserved for his time spent in remand before conviction, the issue arose that the accused had never tried to get bail. He explained to the sentencing judge that this arose because of issues with his counsel. The decision not to seek bail, regardless of the reason, can have a serious impact on how many days of sentencing credit an accused receives for time spent in pre-trial custody.
Choice of counsel is extremely important for an accused during the pre-trial process. If an accused isn’t confident with the counsel he has – if he does not trust that they are truly acting in his best interests, that what he has to say is confidential, and that they are sufficiently skilled to carry out his instructions – then the accused is unlikely to get the full benefit of having a lawyer representing them in court.
The Alberta Bail Office has a roster of lawyers available, experienced with firearms offences, all of whom are guaranteed to be experts on bail law, and to give you their utmost effort to secure your release.