R v JC, 2021 MBQB 52

A conditional sentence was considered fit and appropriate for an Indigenous offender that pleaded guilty to assault. He cares for his three children, is not a threat to the community and in keeping with Gladue principles, will keep his family unit together.

Indigenous Law Centre CaseWatch Blog

In 2017, the accused pleaded guilty to assaulting a victim. The victim was 17 and the accused was 22 at the time of the event. Both were intoxicated when they got into a vehicle together. The victim, who was in the passenger seat, passed out and awoke to find the accused on top of her. Despite her struggling, he pinned her down and threatened to hit her. He is now being sentenced for this matter.

The accused has some Gladue factors but had a good upbringing, a history of employment, and is the father of three children that are in his care. He does have an unrelated youth conviction, and not expressed remorse. However, the accused, an Indigenous man from Waywayseecappo First Nation, has a connection to his community. He has participated in sweat lodge ceremonies with his father, as well as on his own. The accused has his own children involved in traditional Indigenous ceremonies. The accused also participated in trapping with his father, when his father used to do so. He also has had issues with substance abuse, but when the accused was charged with this offence, he stopped drinking.

While a custodial sentence is needed to denounce the actions of the accused, a period of actual incarceration is not needed. He is sentenced to a period of incarceration of 9 months, to be served in the community, subject to conditions. As well, a term of probation of 2 years following the completion of the sentence is imposed. The accused is not a danger to the community and the safety of the community would not be endangered by the accused serving his sentence in the community. The accused has care of his three children. The breakdown of familial relationships is a recurring consequence of colonialization. In this case, the accused being incarcerated would continue that intergenerational harm. A conditional sentence would keep this family unit together.

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