When we advocate for a client in a criminal matter in Canada, the court must consider whether or not subsequent sentences are ‘disproportionate’ to an accused’s earlier offences. The principle is meant to enable the rehabilitation of the offender, while also meting out what our courts deem ‘fair’ or proportionate. While there are always exceptions, the idea is that an individual should not be re-punished for past bad acts. This is called the “jump” or “step” principle.
Per Quigg, JA, paragraph 17 in R. v. Robitaille, 1993 CanLii 2561 (BCCA), 31 BCAC, and per Lambert, JA, paragraph 9: This refers to the “. . . theory that sentences should go up only in moderate steps [and] is a theory which rests on the sentencing principles of rehabilitation. It should be [used] only in cases where rehabilitation is a significant sentencing factor”.