Position of Trust as a Factor in Sentencing

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General Principles

It is an aggravating factor in sentencing for the offender to have been in a position of trust.[1] A position of trust is distinctive from a position of authority and will be determined on the specific facts including the conduct of the offender.[2]

"Trust" refers to "confidence in or reliance on some quality or attribute of a person".[3] In considering whether there is a position of trust, courts must consider parliament's purpose in protecting young persons who are vulnerable and weak in relation to the accused.[4]

Limited Trust Positions
Adult persons who enter into relationships with young persons can put themselves into "qualified positions of trust" or form "low-end trust relationships".[5]

Child Abuse
A person who is a babysitter will generally be considered in a position of trust.[6]

An aircraft maintenance employee is not in a position of trust with respect to passengers on a plane.[7]

  1. see s. 718.2(a)(iii)
  2. Audet 1996 CanLII 198 (SCC), [1996] 2 SCR 171
  3. Audet at para 35
  4. Audet at para 36
  5. see R v Fones, 2012 MBCA 110 (CanLII), [2012] M.J. No. 407, para 68
    R v R. (G.W.), 2011 MBCA 62 (CanLII), [2011] M.J. No. 246, para 42
  6. e.g. R v A.G.A., 2010 ABCA 61 (CanLII)
  7. R v Rocha, 2012 ABPC 24 (CanLII) - offence of voyeurism by taking photos up the skirt of a passenger

See Also