R v Paulson, 2020 ONCJ 86

After weighing the Gladue Report and other sentencing principles with the circumstances of the offender, 338 days of time served plus one day concurrent was imposed for the guilty plea of three offences.

Indigenous Law Centre – CaseWatch Blog

The 28 year old Indigenous offender pled guilty to three counts of Aggravated Assault, Breach of Recognizance, and Assault. The Court read about the offender’s personal circumstances in a Gladue Report and also had the opportunity to hear from her and her family during a sentencing circle. Following the sentencing principles of s 718 of the Criminal Code, it was necessary for the sentencing judge to analyze the circumstances of the offences and determine the weight of those factors while simultaneously considering the principles of denunciation and deterrence.

The offender is a single mother of four children. Her grandparents attended Residential School, which has had a tremendous impact on her mother, and herself. While growing up, she spent significant periods with relatives and friends before she was placed into foster care where she experienced childhood neglect and sexual abuse. The offender became pregnant at the age of fifteen and began abusing illicit substances while also entering into physically abusive relationships with men. She continued to have three additional children but has lost custody of all four. Losing her children caused the offender to experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [“PTSD”], and she spiralled downward into further drug abuse. She did not have a prior criminal record.

It was accepted by the Court that the offender’s criminal actions were the result of extreme intoxication and that she had no memory of the events in question. Aggravating factors were considered including that the assaults were unprovoked, the assaults involved the use of a knife, the offender was on bail during the time of the attacks and was prohibited from possessing weapons, and the level of violence was significant. The mitigating factors included the fact that the offender pled guilty, she had no prior criminal record, her background as an Indigenous person impacted her life, she had PTSD at the time of the offences, and she was remorseful for her actions. It was decided that an appropriate sentence was one that would reflect the time that she had already served.

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