Gladue fac­tors con­sis­tently ap­plied

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY+REGION -

The Cana­dian Bar As­so­ci­a­tion is con­cerned that a re­cent ar­ti­cle (‘Gladue re­ports need to be done’: lone writer calls for cre­ation of Saskatchewan net­work, March 5) may cre­ate the mis­im­pres­sion that “Gladue fac­tors” are not be­ing con­sis­tently ap­plied by Saskatchewan judges, when ap­pli­ca­ble.

The Par­lia­ment of Canada, in Sec­tion 718.2 of the Crim­i­nal Code, has set out sev­eral prin­ci­ples which judges must con­sider when sen­tenc­ing an of­fender. One of th­ese prin­ci­ples states: “all avail­able sanc­tions other than im­pris­on­ment that are rea­son­able in the cir­cum­stances should be con­sid­ered for all of­fend­ers, with par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the cir­cum­stances of Abo­rig­i­nal of­fend­ers.” In its judg­ment of R. v. Gladue and in sub­se­quent judg­ments, the Supreme Court of Canada has pro­vided di­rec­tion on how this leg­is­la­tion should be ap­plied.

Saskatchewan judges are well-in­formed and ap­pro­pri­ately apply crim­i­nal sen­tenc­ing prin­ci­ples, in­clud­ing ap­pli­ca­tion of Gladue fac­tors. They are as­sisted in do­ing so by re­ceiv­ing sub­mis­sions from Crown pros­e­cu­tors and de­fence lawyers, and at times, by pre-sen­tence re­ports which rou­tinely ad­dress Gladue fac­tors for In­dige­nous of­fend­ers.

While it is un­com­mon for such re­ports to fo­cus solely upon Gladue fac­tors, global pre-sen­tence re­ports can­vass Gladue fac­tors, in ad­di­tion to other sen­tenc­ing prin­ci­ples.

In any in­di­vid­ual case where judges are con­cerned that Gladue fac­tors have not been suf­fi­ciently ad­dressed by a pre-sen­tence re­port or plea agree­ment, they can and do ask coun­sel or the of­fender to pro­vide fur­ther in­for­ma­tion rel­e­vant to those fac­tors.

Saskatchewan’s pub­lic should feel con­fi­dent that sen­tenc­ing prin­ci­ples, in­clud­ing con­sid­er­a­tion of Gladue fac­tors, are be­ing con­sis­tently and ap­pro­pri­ately ap­plied by Saskatchewan judges. Evatt Mer­chant, pres­i­dent, CBA-Saskatchewan

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