Age and ageism in sentencing practices: outcomes from a case law review

Helene Love, Fiona Kelly, Israel Doron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over twenty years ago, R.A. raped his 13 year old daughter on three separate
occasions. Since then, he hasn’t committed any more crimes, but the attacks have
had a lasting and devastating effect on his daughter’s life. Now 71 years old, R.A.
stands convicted of the crimes against his daughter. The intervening years have not
been kind to R.A.: he is wheelchair bound with crippling muscular dystrophy, and
in need of round-the-clock medical care. What sort of sentence would be appropriate for this offender? Do the extraordinary circumstances of the offender — i.e. his
age and frailty — justify a departure from the general rule that a father who sexually assaults his daughter on several occasions goes to jail? Since he is a first time
offender, should the judge consider the possibility of rehabilitation, despite his age?
While there is no doubt that the crime is serious, is it right to send a 71-year-old
wheelchair-bound man to jail? Should his sentence be any different just because it
has taken 25 years to uncover his crimes? If he was younger would our assessment
of the relevant considerations be different?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Criminal Law Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


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