By Alan Kilpatrick
Are you familiar with the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Sentencing Digest? This is a searchable database that contains short digests of sentencing appeals heard by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal from 1982 to the present. The resource is extremely valuable as Court of Appeal judges do no not always provide written decisions for sentencing appeals. In some instances, the digest is the only written record of the sentence appeal. The database also conveniently provides links directly to the CanLII full text decision.
You can access the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Sentencing Digest from the quick links area of the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library website. Please find the database’s search screen below.
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Sentencing Digest contains six main search fields:
- Charge – Use this field if the charge is known. For example, break & enter. Searching this will provide a list of sentence appeals for this charge.
- Statute and Section – Use this field if the statute and section from the Criminal Code are known. The statute and section should be separated by an ampersand. For example, criminal code & 144.
- Also Convicted Of – This field can be used if there is more than one conviction.
- Keyword – This field can be used to search the history, details, and circumstances of a sentence appeal. This field can be valuable if the charge, statute, and section are unknown.
- Case Name – The name of the parties can be entered here.
- Citation – Either a neutral citation or a citation to any valid print reporter can be entered in this field.
The bottom of the search screen includes a variety of options that will allow the searcher to narrow and refine the results. This includes date, age, and sex. Using these fields will make the search more specific.
The currency of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Sentencing Digest can be checked by clicking on the currency link at the top of the screen. For example, the database is presently current to December 31st, 2014 with the exception of reserved decisions.
The database’s search commands can be found on the right side of the search screen. It is important to review these commands frequently as proper use of the search commands produces better results.
The most important search commands to familiarize yourself with are the ampersand (&) and the forward slash (/):
- The ampersand is used to separate search terms that represent different concepts. For example, robbery & weapon. The ampersand tells the database that each search result must contain both of these terms.
- The forward slash is used to separate search terms that are synonyms. For example, weapon / knife. The forward slash tells the database that each search result must contain at least one of these search terms.
Keep in mind that two words with no search command between them are interpreted by the database as a phrase. If you would like to learn more about search commands, please consult the Essential Legal Research Guide.
Please find a search result from the database below.
Each search result includes the offence, Criminal Code section, neutral citation, history, circumstances, prior record, additional convictions, original sentence, and disposition.
Please consult this previous Legal Sourcery post for a search scenario with the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Sentencing Digest.
If you have any questions Ask a Law Society Librarian. We are pleased to provide legal research assistance to members in person, on the telephone, or by email.
Call 306-569-8020 in Regina