That's a really good question. My focus, as I said at the outset this afternoon, really wasn't on an examination of the law as it currently stands and how it might be improved. That wasn't part of my mandate.
I'll admit that I'm maybe not equipped with the knowledge to answer your question today, but I think in fairness that it is perhaps time to take a look at the entire section and to consider a lot of things that have happened over the years.
Professor Doob has talked about piecemeal amendments that have happened, sections added here, words added there. I think it might benefit from an analysis. Step back and take a look at it against the statistics, the data analysis, and the conclusions that people like professors Doob and Webster and their colleague Nicole Myers have been engaged in. I think that would be of value. I know that's a very general question.
May I add one thing? I'll leave this with you to consider because someone, I don't recall who—you can see my memory is not as good as it used to be—said, “Can you think of an example where the crown might want to exercise discretion with respect to a criminal record?”
Before coming to this committee I gave that a bit of thought. It took me a while to come to it. I think I can. I'll share my views with you on that.
Let's suppose it's 2017 and we have a gentleman in our community who's upstanding. He might even be a public figure. He has led an exemplary life; he's well regarded. He gets arrested for impaired driving. It's not unusual, I hate to say, but it happens.
This individual comes before the court. The police didn't detain him for purposes of a bail hearing, and this is really in the context of a plea at the end of the process. He's found guilty. So the crown is looking at the record, and on the record is a conviction for an offence that arose from the sweep of the Toronto bathhouses in the early 1980s, and for which he received a small fine, and that's it.
He's a prominent person and so the media is in the court that day, the day of his sentencing. They're there to listen...“Oh, what's he going to get for this impaired...?”
That's an example where I think if I were the crown I'd probably exercise discretion not to put that in, not to be forced to file the record, and to have someone else comment on it or have the defence lawyer representing this individual feel compelled to say something about it. Now it's in the public domain.
So, I share that with you.