Conditional sentence granted for an Indigenous offender. A conditional sentence is available to an offender depending on the context of the case and if it is appropriate. Sentencing principles, as well as the safety of the community, must be considered in granting restorative sentences.
A Gladue report was ordered for an offender, who has pled guilty to three charges contrary to the Criminal Code. The offender is a member of the Samson Cree Nation. He had a difficult and unstable upbringing, which had led to unfortunate life choices. These choices included a criminal record with offenses of theft, break and enter, assault, aggravated assault, a variety of weapons charges, mischief, manslaughter, and instances of non-compliance. However, he had recently turned his life around by embracing his cultural heritage, supporting his family, and operating his own business which employed other Indigenous persons. He was supported by numerous letters of support from community members and local businesses.
Since the offender requested a conditional sentence, the Court undertook the analysis of the four criteria that are required, as outlined by s 742.1 of the Criminal Code (R v Proulx, 2000 SCC 5). This framework directs the Court to determine whether a conditional sentence is “available” in the context of the case and whether it is “appropriate” to impose a conditional sentence. The availability relates to the existence – or lack of – the minimum term of imprisonment, and if not, whether a federal penitentiary term is indicated in the circumstances of the case. Regarding appropriateness, the Court considered whether the fundamental purpose and principles of sentencing are met by a conditional sentence, including the duration and conditions that should be attached. As well, the question was addressed of whether the safety of the community was endangered by the offender serving the sentence in the community.
After reviewing the circumstances of the case, the Court determined that a conditional sentence was available to the offender. It was decided that the restorative sentence met the objectives of the sentencing regime as per ss 718 to 718.2 of the Criminal Code.