“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

After energy pledge, Kootenay leaders roll up sleeves to hammer out details

Meeting this week of local governments to hammer out details of 100-per-cent renewable pledge

Low Lions Club membership could lead to event cancellations

The club’s Canada Day pancake breakfast may be scrapped

RDCK sets deadline for Nelson to agree to compost plan

Mayor John Dooley said the timeline request is unreasonable

Selkirk College valedictorians set for Class of 2019 send-off

Patrick Zubick and Emma Cuell are this year’s valedictorians

Rossland moves forward on single-use plastic bag ban bylaw

Bylaw given first reading at last council meeting

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Drug decriminalization report welcomed in East Kootenay

Provincial report recommends decriminalizing people who use illicit drugs, shift focus to treatment

New flight service an ‘angel’ for medical patients

Angel Flight East Kootenay will fly medical patients to Kelowna or Vancouver

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Family dog stolen from Kootenay backyard

RCMP appealing for information on pregnant Karelian bear dog missing from Elko, B.C.

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Most Read