Tuesday, April 05, 2005

R. V. LUCAS Date of Judgment April 13 1995

Saskatchewan Judgments

Record 27 of 40
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Date of Judgment: April 13, 1995
Number of Pages: 4
Q.B. A.D. 1994
No. 7 J.C.S.






- W.R. Donlevy - for the Crown
- R. Parker - for Johanna Erna Lucas and
John David Lucas

April 13, 1995

Both of you have been found guilty of the offence that between the 19th day of September, A.D. 1993 and the 22nd day of September, A.D. 1993 at or near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan you did publish matter without lawful justification or excuse that was likely to injure the reputation of a police officer by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule or that was designed to insult the police officer knowing that the matter published was false and did thereby commit an offence contrary to s. 300 of the Criminal Code.

The accused, John David Lucas, has a criminal record dating back to 1966. It reads:

Vancouver BC (1) BE & Theft Sec 292(1)(B) CC
(2) B & E With Intent Sec 292(1)(A) CC
(3) ATT B & E With Intent Sec 24(1) CC (1-3) Susp Sent on $1,000 Bond for 2 Yrs

Calgary Alta(1) Assault CBH Sec 231(2) CC
(2) Threatening Letter Sec 316(1)(A) CC (1-2) $50 I-D 1 Mo On Each Chg Consec

Winnipeg Man Poss Heroin For The Purpose Of Trafficking Sec 4(2) NC ACT 13 Yrs

Vancouver BC Poss Of Weapon Sec 83 CC 2 Yrs Conc With Sent Now Serving

1982-03-10 Released On Mandatory Supervision

Saskatoon, Sask. Queen's Bench Crt. February 17/88 Sec. 116(1) CC - Disobey Court Order (x 2 charges) 1. Sent. 7 days 2. $250 I/D 7 days, 2 year probation

Saskatoon Sask. Fail to Comply With Recognizance Sec 145(3) CC $500 I-D 45 Days & Surcharge Of $50 I-D 7 Days

In determining the proper sentence to be imposed on John David Lucas, I do not take into account his convictions during the period 1966 to and including 1982 except to show that he is no stranger to the criminal legal system. However, I do take into consideration his convictions in 1988 and in 1994.

The accused, Johanna Erna Lucas, has a criminal conviction dated February 17, 1988 for disobeying a court order contrary to s. 116(1) of the Criminal Code.

The criminal libel in this case is cruel and outrageous. It provokes anger and causes resentment. The accused, without lawful justification or excuse published matter which could injure the reputation of a police officer who was doing his duty. The accused exposed him to hatred, contempt or ridicule. The matter published was an insult to the police officer. The accused knew that the matter was false. To the end the accused attempted to justify what they did and thereby have shown no remorse.

The objective of s. 300 of the Criminal Code is the protection of individuals from false defamatory attacks on their privacy and reputation. Once attacked an individual is virtually helpless to defend himself or herself.

The sanctity of an individual's reputation is the fundamental basis for the existence of s. 300 of the Criminal Code. Reputation is inherent in the dignity and worth of individuals. The value of a good reputation in society has been recognized throughout history. In The Law of Defamation in Canada, 1994 (2nd ed.) Vol. 1, Raymond E. Brown, states at p. 4:

"Defamation is, admittedly, a 'peculiar' tort. Nevertheless, however imperfect the law may be, and however much we may despair of the current state of affairs, the importance of providing legal protection to personal reputation is universally acknowledged. It is a value no civilized society has failed to protect. '[N]o system of civil law can fail to take some account of the right to have one's reputation remain untarnished by defamation'. Some form of legal or social constraints on defamatory publications 'are to be found in all stages of civilization, however imperfect, remote, and proximate to barbarism'. The extent to which a community protects the reputation of its citizens may partially measure its 'cultural level and democratic quality'."

In the History and Theory of the Law of Defamation II, [1904] 4 Colum. L. Rev. 33 at p. 33 the author, VanVechten Veeder, stated:

"One's good name is therefore as truly the product of one's efforts as any physical possession; indeed it alone gives to material possessions their value as sources of happiness."

An attack on the reputation of an individual is a serious matter which cannot be tolerated in our society. Such an attack can be equated with psychological abuse which strikes not only at the victim but his family as well. It can cause emotional damage. See: R v. Keegstra (1991), 61 C.C.C. (3d) 1 at p. 36. Such a defamatory attack on an individual's reputation violates that individual's integrity and human dignity similar to a physical assault and may even result in more serious consequences such as emotional distress and worry. There is no price which can be put on the value of an individual's good reputation. It is invaluable.

The following factors are to be considered in determining the proper sentence to be imposed: punishment, deterrence, protection of the public and the reformation and rehabilitation of the offender.

I am of the view that specific and general deterrence are the main factors to be considered in this case.

In determining the proper sentences to be imposed upon the accused, pursuant to s. 612(3) of the Criminal Code, I have considered that the guilt of the accused is aggravated by their plea of justification. The contents of that plea reveal that the defamatory libel which they published was absolutely false.

I conclude that John David Lucas was the instigator and Johanna Erna Lucas was his follower.

It is the sentence of this Court that John David Lucas be incarcerated for a period of two years less one day.

It is the sentence of this Court that Johanna Erna Lucas be incarcerated for a period of 22 months.

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