Media Advisory: Supreme Court to deliver decision in mandatory minimum sentencing challenge

Vancouver, B.C. [April 14]—The Supreme Court of Canada will deliver its decision in the case of Joseph Ryan Lloyd v. Her Majesty the Queen, a constitutional challenge to a mandatory minimum sentence for a drug trafficking offence, on Friday, April 15.

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Using the law as a catalyst for positive social change, Pivot Legal Society works to improve the lives of marginalized communities.

Mr. Lloyd, a Vancouver Downtown Eastside resident, was charged and convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking.  At the time of his arrest, Mr. Lloyd was carrying just under 10 grams of heroin, crack cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine. Mr. Lloyd told the court he was addicted to these three drugs, and that he was paid for his work as a low-level drug trade worker with drugs. 
Under the Safe Streets and Communities Act, enacted by the federal Conservative government in 2012, Mr. Lloyd’s conviction carried a one-year mandatory minimum jail term because he had a previous drug trafficking conviction in the past ten years. Mr. Lloyd challenged the constitutionality of the mandatory minimum sentence and the B.C. provincial trial judge ruled the law was unconstitutional. However, after the government appealed, the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled that the provincial court judge had overstepped by declaring the law unconstitutional and gave Lloyd an 18-month sentence.
Pivot Legal Society and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) co-intervened and made oral submissions to the Supreme Court of Canada when the case was heard in January 2016.
What:             Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v Lloyd
When:            Written decision will be delivered Friday, April 15 at 9:45am EDT / 6:45am PDT
Who:              Pivot and UBCIC are available for comment
For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Hollett, Communications Director: 778-848-3420, [email protected]
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About Pivot Legal Society
Pivot Legal Society is a leading Canadian human rights organization that uses the law to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion in Canada. Pivot’s award winning work includes challenging laws and policies that force people to the margins of society and keep them there. Since 2002 Pivot has won major victories for sex workers’ rights, police accountability, affordable housing, and health and drug policy.