An 11 month consecutive sentence is reasonable for an Indigenous accused, who is serving a sentence for unrelated offences. He shall, for the next 2 years, respect conditions in a probation order, and is prohibited from operating any motor vehicle in Canada for a period of 5 years.
The accused, Mr. Adams, is a 36 years old Indigenous male registered as a member of the Mohawks of Akwesasne. In 2011, he was spotted by police operating a motor vehicle while disqualified, but decided to flee the police officers. He pleaded guilty to charges of flight from police, of driving while disqualified and of breaching a valid recognizance binding him not to drive any motor vehicle. Subsequently in the same year, the accused stole his grandmother’s vehicle and was later involved in an accident. He pleaded guilty to charges of vehicle theft, driving while disqualified, and one count of breaching his recognizance by operating a motor vehicle while he was bound not to.
In 2019, the accused was spotted operating a boat full of bags containing tobacco. The accused was enroute to offload the cargo, but the RCMP marine patrol blocked him, whereby the accused rammed the RCMP vessel, capsizing his own boat. He pleaded guilty to charges of possession of unstamped tobacco and obstructing police officers. The last event happened in 2020. Police observed and tried to intercept two snowmobiles with sleds they thought were transporting illegal tobacco. One of the snowmobiles rammed the police while the other, operated by the accused, got away. The accused was charged and pleaded guilty to the possession of this unstamped tobacco, as well as to charges of breaching his recognizance for not showing up in Court, and for possessing illegal tobacco while it was prohibited by the recognizance. The accused is charged by both the provincial and federal Crown. The provincial crown is prosecuting for the 2011 events, while the federal crown is prosecuting for the 2019 and 2020 events.
Further investigation revealed he did not spent the 8 year period avoiding the law while staying out of trouble. He was in fact detained in the United States for an offence of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances committed in 2012. In coming to Canada and in committing the 2019 and 2020 crimes, he breached his supervision order.
According to the Gladue report issued, as a child Mr. Adams experienced different forms of abuse and neglect, abandonment, lower level of education, and the normalizing of substance abuse and smuggling. He also endured separate traumatic events that included the death of his father and a very close uncle. As an adult, he has been living in a hopeless state of mind, dealing with a dependence on alcohol and drugs and is currently incarcerated. Mr. Adams has two children he has not been present to see grow up, because of time spent in jail since their birth. The only mitigating factor for Mr. Adams, however, seems to be the plea of guilt. The quantities seized in each file of unstamped tobacco is important (1274 kg in the 1st file, and 773 kg in the second file). Both these crimes were committed recently, after being released from the United States.
Considering the priors convictions, the gravity of these offences, the need for deterrence, the passage of time, the Court finds a lower sentence would be unreasonable, given the accused is not to this day rehabilitated, as can be seen from the facts in the smuggling files. Because the 2011 events have nothing to do with the 2019-2020 events, these sentences need to be served consecutively. The 11 month sentence should be served consecutively to the sentence being currently served.