Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – National Parole Board hearings – Prisons – Judicial review – Procedural requirements and fairness – Evidence – Standard of review – Correctness
T.C. v. Canada (Attorney General),  F.C.J. No. 2163, Federal Court, November 29, 2005, Mactavish J.
The National Parole Board (“NPB”) refused to grant accelerated day parole to T.C., and his subsequent appeal of that decision to the Appeal Division of the NPB was dismissed. The Appeal Division found that there was sufficient information before the NPB as to constitute reasonable grounds for believing that if he were released, T.C. was likely to commit an offence involving violence prior to his warrant expiry date.
T.C. sought judicial review of the Appeal Division’s Decision arguing that the Appeal Division erred in ascribing too much weight to the allegations that he had assaulted and threatened his former common law spouse. These allegations were contained in a Police Report that was before the Board. Moreover, T.C. said that the Appeal Division erred in finding that he was “likely” to commit an offence prior to the expiry of his sentence.
The Court held that the question as to whether there was a breach of the duty of procedural fairness owed to T.C. was to be reviewed against a standard of correctness.
The Court was not persuaded that either the NPB or the Appeal Division acted in an unfair manner in relation to the evidence in question. It was clear that the concerns as to T.C.’s potential propensity for violence were put to him at his Hearing before the NPB and that he was afforded a full and complete opportunity to respond to those concerns. The Appeal Division was entitled to consider the unproven allegations contained in the Police Report.
The criteria for granting accelerated day parole were set out in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Subsection 126(2) provided that accelerated day parole may be granted where the Board was satisfied that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the offender, if released, was likely to commit an offence involving violence. The NPB relied upon the Policy Report, T.C.’s acknowledgement that there was a great deal of conflict in the relationship with his former common law spouse and the fact that he had frequently been unable to control his anger. T.C. also admitted that he repeatedly violated Court imposed conditions to stay away from his former common law spouse. In light of this evidence, the NPB found reasonable grounds to believe that if T.C. were released, he would likely be involved in an offence involving violence. The Court held that this decision was one that was reasonably open to the NPB and there was no basis for interfering with the decision of the Appeal Division to affirm the NPB’s decision. The Application was therefore dismissed.
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