R. v. Anthony-Cook [2016] S.C.C.

Agreements of this nature are vitally important to the well-being of our criminal justice system at large -para 25

The public interest test is the proper test for trial judges to apply. [para 31]. The threshold for this test is particularly high – higher than the other tests that were used prior to 2016.

Test – The trial judge should not depart from the joint submission on sentence unless the proposed sentence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute or would otherwise be contrary to the public interest. -para 32

Only where the sentence would be viewed by a reasonable and informed person as a breakdown in the proper functioning of the justice system.

Procedure Where the trial judge has concerns with the joint submission the following procedures should be followed:

  • The trial judge should approach the joint submission on an “as is” basis. -Para 51
  • The public interest test should be applied when the judge is considered going to above or below the joint submission: – para 52
    1. Does the proposed sentence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute or would otherwise be contrary to the public interest?
  • Trial judge may inquire about the circumstances leading to the joint submission, and in particular, any benefits obtained by the Crown or concessions made by the account. – para 53
  • The trial judge should notify counsel of any concerns and invite further submissions, including the possibility of the accused withdrawing their plea. – para 58
  • If the trial judge’s concerns are not alleviated, the judge may allow the accused to withdrawal their plea. – para 59
  • If the trial judge is still unsatisfied counsel’s submissions, they may provide clear and cogent reasons for departing from the joint submission. – para 60