R v Pijogge, 2019 NLSC 15

An Indigenous offender has shown rehabilitative potential through community ties and strong family connections, however, incarceration is an appropriate sentence.

Indigenous Law Centre – CaseWatch Blog

The offender, while heavily intoxicated, had sexual intercourse with the victim, a close friend. Both the offender and victim were of Indigenous descent. The offence happened in her own home while she was also heavily intoxicated and unconscious. The offender was convicted of sexual assault contrary to section 271(1)(a) of the Criminal Code.

Balancing the sentencing principles with the Pre-Sentence Report and Gladue factors regarding the history of the offender, it was noted that he suffered sexual abuse at the hands of an unrelated male when he was a child, and also witnessed a suicide. Although he has never received counselling for these traumatic events, the offender enjoyed a relatively stable upbringing, with caring parents. He achieved his Grade 12 education, and generally maintained employment. The offender has the support of his family and a long-term partner, along with ties to his Indigenous community, which shows rehabilitative potential in addressing his issues with alcohol.

The presence of a criminal record is an aggravating factor on sentence. The commission of this offence showed an escalation in seriousness as compared to the other kinds of offences the accused committed in the past. Alcohol likely played a role in how the offence came to be committed, however, it may explain but does not excuse the behaviour.

The offence was at the serious end of the spectrum in regards of the gravity of conduct. Taking into account the above circumstances, with an emphasis on deterrence, the fit sentence is incarceration for 30 months, along with other conditions.

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