R v TLC, 2019 BCPC 314

After weighing the sentencing principles with information provided by a Gladue report, a conditional discharge with 18 months of probation was imposed for the guilty plea of three offenses.

Indigenous Law Centre – CaseWatch Blog

TLC pled guilty to two assaults on her boyfriend and a breach of bail by having contact with him contrary to ss 266 and 145(3) of the Criminal Code. The Crown and Defence counsel agreed on what the appropriate sentencing for the offence should have been and collaborated to recommend a joint submission for a suspended sentence with an 18-month period of probation. An alternative method of placing the accused on probation would have been a conditional discharge which, would have prevented them from having a criminal record. When deciding whether the joint submission was appropriate, it was determined that the Court should only depart from a joint submission where “the proposed sentence would be viewed by reasonable and informed persons as a breakdown in the proper functioning of the justice system” (R v Anthony-Cook, [2016] 2 SCR 204). However, as this case involved an Indigenous offender, the Court found it necessary to evaluate whether there was “enough information to impose a fit sentence that properly considers the Indigenous circumstances of that particular Indigenous accused.”

There was a Gladue report written for TLC. It outlined that the offender was a First Nations woman who was not directly raised with her culture. Her mother was abused when she attended residential school. TLC was abused as a child and grew up with violence in her home. TLC was a victim of domestic assault and had been receiving trauma counselling and therapy. She also was two subjects away from completing grade 12 and had completed the Indigenous Tourism Ambassadors program through the Indigenous Community for Leadership and Development. The Court recognized numerous aggravating factors, including the violence perpetrated against TLC from a male and the repeated victimization that she faced throughout her life. Deterrence, denunciation and rehabilitation were also considered as the offender was charged with spousal assault. It was decided that TLC had truly turned her life around and giving her a criminal record would not serve the public interest; therefore, a conditional discharge with 18 months of probation was imposed.

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