After weighing the sentencing principles with Gladue factors, the circumstances of the Indigenous offender after entering a guilty plea for aggravated assault resulted in an incarceration of 3 years, minus credit for pre-sentence custody.
The offender was convicted of aggravated assault pursuant to s 268(2) of the Criminal Code. The details of the offence are that the victim was at his friend’s home having drinks when the offender and his co-accused came over. An argument ensued with the victim before being physically attacked. The victim was punched and kicked until he was rendered unconscious. He did not fight back, and suffered bruising on the left arm and three serious lacerations to his scalp which required 16 staples to his head.
The offender is a 44-year-old Indigenous man who hunts and fishes for his family and donates some of his catch to elders. The offender is a carver for a living. He did not attend Residential School, and he was unsure if his biological mother did either. While the offender lives in a dry community, he reported extensive use of both drugs and alcohol. He has two children who live with their mother, and he provides financial support to them when he has the income. He has lost multiple family members to suicide. The offender has a record which includes offenses of possession of a weapon, assaults, theft, mischief, uttering threats, and failure to comply with an undertaking.
Following the sentencing principles of s 718 of the Criminal Code, the Court was required to ensure that the sentence was proportionate to the gravity of the offense and the degree of responsibility of the offender. The section also outlines other sentencing principles for the sentencing judge to consider in determining aggravating or mitigating circumstances which are supplemented by the analysis required by Gladue. The aggravating factors including the severity of the injuries to the victim, the fact that the attack was unprovoked, the offender’s serious criminal record for similar offenses, and his prior jail sentence. The mitigating factors included that the offender expressed remorse, his co-accused initiated the assault, he expressed a desire to change his ways and return to work, he has a support network and a close connection to the community. After considering these factors, the Court imposed a sentence of incarceration of 3 years minus credit for pre-sentence custody.