Appeal dismissed. There is no error on the sentencing judge’s imposed sentence of an Indigenous offender who committed a robbery with an imitation firearm. Gladue principles was given appropriate consideration, along with hardships arising from the Covid-19 pandemic related lockdowns in determining a fit sentence.
Mr. Chad Reddick entered a guilty plea to robbery and using an imitation firearm while committing an indictable offence. This was an extremely serious offence committed by a 33-year-old man with a significant, albeit largely non-violent, criminal record. The sentencing judge imposed a two-year sentence for the robbery, to be followed by the one-year mandatory minimum sentence for the firearm offence. The sentencing judge also granted the Crown a 12-month non-reporting probation order.
Mr. Reddick appeals the sentence imposed, claiming that the sentencing judge erred in applying Gladue principles and failed to pay attention to the sentencing objective of rehabilitation. He argued that there has been a change in the law that makes a conditional sentence possible for the robbery conviction, and that there has been a high frequency of lockdowns Mr. Reddick has experienced related to the Covid-19 pandemic since the sentence was imposed (R v Sharma, 2020 ONCA 478 [“Sharma”]).
Mr. Reddick is remorseful and has commited to change, however, his appeal is dismissed. Despite the fact that Aboriginal Legal Services declined to provide a Gladue report because he and his family members lacked specific information about his Aboriginal ancestry, the sentencing judge accepted that Mr. Reddick was Indigenous and drew on relevant information in the presentence report in order to comply with s 718.2(e). She applied the Gladue principles appropriately and sensitively, as well as considered rehabilitation.
Even if this Court was to accept that after the Sharma decision a conditional sentence may be imposed on a robbery conviction where a weapon is involved, there is no error by the sentencing judge that would permit resentencing Mr. Reddick using this “new” sentencing tool. As well, pursuant to s 742.1 of the Criminal Code, a conditional sentence cannot be imposed unless the accused is being sentenced to less than two years of imprisonment. The trial judge determined that the least restrictive sentence she could impose was two years. Despite hardship arising from lockdowns which can qualify as a collateral consequence that warrants consideration during sentencing (R v Morgan, 2020 ONCA 279), the sentencing judge already took the current Covid-19 pandemic into account on the hardship of the sentence imposed. The Court is not satisfied on the evidence that circumstances have changed to the point where additional credit should be given.