“Justice,” one of four 1930s-era murals in the lower rotunda of the B.C. legislature, shows colonial judge Matthew Begbie holding court in Clinton during the Cariboo gold rush of the 1860s. The murals were covered by plaster walls in 2008. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. prosecutors get new guidelines for dealing with Indigenous accused

‘Bias, racism and systemic discrimination’ in criminal justice

The B.C. Prosecution Service has revised its guidelines for Crown prosecutors when assessing charges and release conditions for Indigenous people, demanding further consideration for racial discrimination as a background to criminal offences.

The new guidelines affect charge assessment, bail and adult probation decisions.

“The status quo is failing Indigenous persons,” says the service’s new Indigenous justice framework document, released Tuesday. “Colonialism, displacement and forced assimilation have contributed to their overrepresentation in all parts of the criminal justice system in Canada. Bias, racism and systemic discrimination continue to aggravate this unacceptable situation. These facts must inform every consideration, decision or action we take in relation to Indigenous persons.”

The update comes a decade after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in a case called R v Gladue that Indigenous offenders should be treated differently in sentencing. The case is considered a landmark, as the highest court directed that Indigenous people’s aboriginal heritage and connection in sentencing.

READ MORE: Crown drops charges against 14 pipeline protesters

READ MORE: Wilson-Raybould ouster ‘threatens reconciliation’

In the 1999 B.C. case, Jamie Tanis Gladue pleaded guilty to manslaughter for stabbing her common-law husband after celebrating her 19th birthday drinking beer with friends, including the victim, whom she believed was having sex with her sister.

Gladue was sentenced to three years in prison, and was released on day parole after serving six months. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the trial judge and B.C. Court of Appeal judges did not adequately consider alternatives to prison, partly because Gladue and the victim were not living on reserve.

The B.C. Prosecution Service also cited R v Ipeelee, a 2012 decision from the Supreme Court of Canada: “The history of colonialism, displacement and residential schools in Canada has translated into lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher unemployment, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and higher levels of incarceration for Indigenous persons.”

Prosecutors also received other policy updates, including a revised policy for transmission of HIV during sexual acts and bail conditions in cases of intimate partner violence.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna classroom where child allegedly overdosed re-opens after cleaning

An 8-year-old was unresponsive and unable to walk after ingesting an unknown substance at school.

Revelstoke’s Dam Survivors bring home bronze

The dragon boat team finished up their season with a medal

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Sept. 12

120 Years Ago: Revelstoke Herald, Sept. 13, 1899 The memorial stone for… Continue reading

Revelstoke Community Calendar for Sept. 12

Bear Aware Affair Sept. 22, 4 p.m. Alley beside The Regent A… Continue reading

Growls and Hugs for Sept. 12

Someone or something got your hackles up? Or maybe someone made you… Continue reading

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Video: Rain doesn’t deter Terry Fox runners in Salmon Arm

Dozens showed up to continue the Canadian icon’s marathon of hope.

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Road block was costly legal battle for Summerland

Resolving Garnet Valley dispute took six years

Most Read