This case was heard in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland (Court of Appeal).
Mr. Lambe and Mr. Moulton were convicted of having violated provincial laws regarding the use of All-Terrain Vehicles (“ATVs”) in sensitive ecological areas. Upon conviction, the Court sentenced both parties to fines and also ordered the seizure of their ATVs. Mr. Lambe and Mr. Moulton appealed the sentences, arguing that the seizure of their ATVs violated their constitutional rights not to be subjected to “cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.”
The Court conducted an extensive review of the legislative purposes behind the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the provincial laws that had given rise to the sentence, and it also considered the laws and legal principles that shape human rights and environmental protections in Canada. Ultimately it concluded that, in light of the severe environmental harms that the Crown wished to prevent, the seizure of the ATVs was not “cruel and unusual.” It therefore dismissed the appeal.