Although Gladue factors reduced an Indigenous offender’s overall blameworthiness, it was not enough to persuade the Court that he is not a risk to public safety or can be managed in the community. He is designated a dangerous offender and sentenced to detention in a penitentiary for an indeterminate period.
In 2019, Dillion Richard Runions pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault, contrary to s 268 of the Criminal Code, and a further count of breaching an undertaking given to a police officer, contrary to s 145 (5.1). The aggravated assault consisted of Mr. Runion, who was unprovoked, slamming a machete into the neck of his unsuspecting victim. This vicious attack was nearly fatal with the victim surviving only because of timely medical intervention. At the time of the machete attack Mr. Runions was bound by the terms of an undertaking given to a police officer, which stipulated that Mr. Runions should not be in possession of a weapon. Both offences occurred in 2017.
The Crown brough an application to designate Mr. Runions a dangerous offender and to be given an indeterminate sentence (R v Corbiere,  OJ No 938; R v Bedard, 2009 ONCA 678; R v Gulliver, 2018 ABCA 387; R v Neve, 1999 ABCA 206; and R v Lyons,  2 SCR 309). Part of the prospective assessment of dangerousness, is answering the question of whether the behaviour is such that the pattern of conduct can be said to be substantially or pathologically intractable (R v Boutilier, 2017 SCC 64).
Mr. Runions spoke of a childhood history which included general family dysfunction, poverty, domestic violence, maternal substance abuse, abandonment, neglect, placement in foster care, and a chaotic life involving frequent moves and school changes. According to a Gladue report, Mr. Runions indicated that one of his placements involved a Métis family, and he was exposed to his Métis heritage, traditions, and cultural practices. Mr. Runions said he was sexually abused from a young age, and that he was sexually assaulted by one of his mother’s boyfriends and by a foster parent.
Mr. Runions told the Gladue report writer that he fled a group home at age 16 and joined a street gang called “Deuce’s of Central”. He said that he resided with gang affiliates until his first incarceration at 19, and then dropped out of school, consumed alcohol, used cocaine, trafficked in illegal substances, and engaged in negative and violent behaviour. Mr. Runions reported a sporadic work history including having worked as a cribber and a drywaller, his average length of employment was under six months, and his longest period of employment was two years. Mr. Runions reported that he was diagnosed as being bipolar disorder in 2005, depression and anxiety at 18 years old, and post-traumatic stress disorder in 2009. He also reported auditory hallucinations if he did not take various medications.
The quality and strength of the evidence of past and future events, together with the expert opinion concerning those events, demonstrates that it is likely Mr. Runions will cause death or injury through his failure to restrain his behaviour in the future. Mr. Runions has not yet received nor exhausted all treatment options that are available to him. In most cases through no fault of his own, Mr. Runions remains untreated in relation to some of his most pressing treatment needs. It is also notable that Mr. Runions, who has demonstrated a recently renewed interest with respect to his Indigenous background (having previously self-identified with Buddhism and later as a Muslim), at least while incarcerated, could elect to be placed within a separate multi-target stream such as the ICPM Multi-Target Program which emphasizes Indigenous healing through traditional and cultural means, and importantly and supportively permits access to Elders for guidance and support.
Unfortunately, Mr. Runions cannot be trusted and his persistent disingenuous presentation makes treatment functionally impossible. It is also highly likely that Mr. Runions will resume gang-affiliations once released from custody. There is no suggestion in the evidence that he has ever succeeded in divesting himself (long-term) from his gang-lifestyle while not in a structured custodial setting. Mr. Runions acknowledged that he was still at the top of the pyramid when he was asked about his gang connections.
Mr. Runions has a very high risk for general recidivism and for violently reoffending. His Gladue factors does reduce his overall blameworthiness, but they do little to change the obvious gravity of the grave circumstances of the predicate offence, and the fact the Mr. Runions violently injured and endangered the life of three people in approximately a one-month period. The Gladue considerations do not persuade the Court that Mr. Runions’ risk to public safety can be controlled or managed in the community. Mr. Runions is a dangerous offender and he is sentenced to detention in a penitentiary for an indeterminate period. Given the circumstances, including the past criminal record, a fit and proper sentence in relation to the conviction under s 145(5.1) of the Criminal Code is 6 months imprisonment.