Criminal - Sentencing - Changes in Penalty and Attitudes. R. v. Simeunovich
In R. v. Simeunovich (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal considered the role of changing penalties and attitudes in sentencing:
 Although the appellant’s driving on December 8, 2021 did not display the elements of dangerous driving causing injury to another that led to his 2018 convictions, the sentencing judge properly observed that when a person who has been prohibited from driving on multiple occasions continues to drive while disqualified, they present a risk to public safety: R. v. Lavergne, 2018 ONCJ 901, at para. 86.
 The gravity of this risk to public safety was reflected in Parliament’s 2018 amendment that increased the maximum penalty for the offence of driving while disqualified from five years to ten years. The cases most heavily relied upon by the appellant to support his argument about the disproportionality and lack of parity of the sentence imposed were decided at a time when the maximum sentence for the offence was five years and, consequently, provide little guidance. For, as the Supreme Court has directed, courts should depart from prior sentencing precedents when they no longer reflect society’s current understanding and awareness of the gravity of a particular offence and blameworthiness of particular offenders: Friesen, at paras. 35, 108, and 110; Parranto, per Moldaver J. (concurring), at para. 86.