R. v. Gladue (J.T.), (1999) 121 B.C.A.C. 161 (SCC)

JudgeLamer, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Cory, Iacobucci, Bastarache and Binnie, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateApril 23, 1999
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1999), 121 B.C.A.C. 161 (SCC);[1999] 1 SCR 688;1999 CanLII 679 (SCC);171 DLR (4th) 385;133 CCC (3d) 385;23 CR (5th) 197;121 BCAC 161;238 NR 1;[1999] CarswellBC 778;AZ-50061963;JE 99-881;[1999] SCJ No 19 (QL);198 WAC 161;[1999] 2 CNLR 252;[1999] ACS no 19;41 WCB (2d) 402

R. v. Gladue (J.T.) (1999), 121 B.C.A.C. 161 (SCC);

   198 W.A.C. 161

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

Temp. Cite: [1999] B.C.A.C. TBEd. AP.026

Jamie Tanis Gladue (appellant) v. Her Majesty The Queen (respondent) and The Attorney General of Canada, The Attorney General for Alberta and Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto Inc. (intervenors)

(26300)

Indexed As: R. v. Gladue (J.T.)

Supreme Court of Canada

Lamer, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Cory, Iacobucci, Bastarache and Binnie, JJ.

April 23, 1999.

Summary:

The aboriginal accused pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the stabbing death of her common law husband. The trial judge sen­tenced the accused to three years' imprison­ment. Although s. 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code provided that "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", the trial judge held that because the aborigi­nal accused did not live on a reserve, there were no special circumstances arising from her aboriginal status to take into account. The accused appealed.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal, in a judgment reported 98 B.C.A.C. 120; 161 W.A.C. 120, held that the trial judge erred in concluding that s. 718.2(e) did not apply to aboriginals not living on a reserve. However, considering s. 718.2(e), the sentence was fit. Rowles, J.A., dissenting, would have reduced the sentence to imprisonment for two years less a day. The accused appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal. Although both the sentencing judge's and appellate court's failure to give proper consideration to s. 718.2(e) would normally result in remitting the matter for a new sentencing hearing, a three year sen­tence was not unreasonable even on a proper consideration of s. 718.2(e), particularly where the accused was granted day parole on conditions after six months and full parole on conditions six months after that.

Criminal Law - Topic 5846.1

Sentencing - Considerations on imposing sentence - Aboriginal offenders - Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code required sentencing judges to consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment and to pay "particular attention to the circum­stances of aboriginal offenders" - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "s. 718.2(e) is not simply a codification of existing jurisprudence. It is remedial in nature. Its purpose is to ameliorate the serious problem of overrepresentation of aboriginal persons in prisons, and to en­courage sentencing judges to have recourse to a restorative approach to sentencing. There is a judicial duty to give the pro­vision's remedial purpose real force. Sec­tion 718(2)(e) must be read and considered in the context of the rest of the factors referred to in that section and in light of all of Part XXIII. All principles and factors set out in Part XXIII must be taken into consideration in determining the fit sen­tence. Attention should be paid to the fact that Part XXIII, through ss. 718, 718.2(e) and 742.1, among other provisions, has placed a new emphasis upon decreasing the use of incarceration." - See paragraph 93.

Criminal Law - Topic 5846.1

Sentencing - Considerations on imposing sentence - Aboriginal offenders - Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code required sentencing judges to consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment and to pay "particular attention to the circum­stances of aboriginal offenders" - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "sen­tencing is an individual process and in each case the consideration must continue to be what is a fit sentence for this accused for this offence in this community. How­ever, the effect of s. 718.2(e) is to alter the method of analysis which sentencing judges must use in determining a fit sen­tence for aboriginal offenders. Section 718.2(e) directs sentencing judges to un­dertake the sentencing of aboriginal offenders individually, but also differently, because the circumstances of aboriginal people are unique. In sentencing an abo­riginal offender, the judge must consider: (A) The unique systemic or background factors which may have played a part in bringing the particular aboriginal offender before the courts; and (B) The types of sentencing procedures and sanctions which may be appropriate in the circumstances for the offender because of his or her particular aboriginal heritage or connec­tion." - See paragraph 93.

Criminal Law - Topic 5846.1

Sentencing - Considerations on imposing sentence - Aboriginal offenders - Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code required sentencing judges to consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment and to pay "particular attention to the circum­stances of aboriginal offenders" - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "if there is no alternative to incarceration the length of the term must be carefully con­sidered. The section is not to be taken as a means of automatically reducing the prison sentence of aboriginal offenders; nor should it be assumed that an offender is receiving a more lenient sentence simply because incarceration is not imposed. The absence of alternative sentencing programs specific to an aboriginal community does not eliminate the ability of a sentencing judge to impose a sanction that takes into account principles of restorative justice and the needs of the parties involved" - See paragraph 93.

Criminal Law - Topic 5846.1

Sentencing - Considerations on imposing sentence - Aboriginal offenders - Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code required sentencing judges to consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment and to pay "particular attention to the circum­stances of aboriginal offenders" - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "s. 718.2(e) applies to all aboriginal persons wherever they reside, whether on- or off-reserve, in a large city or a rural area. In defining the relevant aboriginal community for the purpose of achieving an effective sentence, the term 'community' must be defined broadly so as to include any net­work of support an interaction that might be available, including in an urban centre. At the same time, the residence of the aboriginal offender in an urban centre that lacks any network of support does not relieve the sentencing judge of the obli­gation to try to find an alternative to im­prisonment." - See paragraph 93.

Criminal Law - Topic 5846.1

Sentencing - Considerations on imposing sentence - Aboriginal offenders - Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code required sentencing judges to consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment and to pay "particular attention to the circum­stances of aboriginal offenders" - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "the jail term for an aboriginal offender may in some circumstances be less than the term imposed on a non-aboriginal offender for the same offence. It is unreasonable to assume that aboriginal peoples do not believe in the importance of traditional sentencing goals such as deterrence, de­nunciation, and separation, where war­ranted. In this context, generally, the more serious and violent the crime, the more likely it will be as a practical matter that the terms of imprisonment will be the same for similar offences and offenders, whether the offender is aboriginal or non-aboriginal." - See paragraph 93.

Criminal Law - Topic 5882

Sentence - Manslaughter - The 19 year old aboriginal accused, then five months' pregnant, stabbed her 20 year old common law husband to death - The accused was provoked by the husband's insulting be­haviour and humiliating comments, but the accused was not afraid of the husband and previously threatened to harm him for allegedly cheating on her - The accused had a hyperthyroid condition that exag­gerated emotional reactions - She was drinking at the time of the stabbing - Accused stabbed husband, then chased him 60 feet as he tried to escape, fatally stabbing him in the heart - No adult crimi­nal record - Pending trial she attended alcohol abuse counselling and upgraded her education - Accused remorseful - Sup­portive family - The accused pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment - Both the sentencing judge and the appellate court (which affirmed the sentence) failed to give proper consideration to s. 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code, which required that particular attention be paid to the circum­stances of aboriginal offenders - Notwith­standing this error, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the three year sentence as reasonable (rather than remitting the matter for a new sentence hearing), where the accused was released on day parole after six months and full parole a further six months later - See paragraphs 94 to 99.

Cases Noticed:

Rizzo & Rizzo Shoes Ltd. (Bankrupt), Re, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 27; 221 N.R. 241; 106 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Chartrand (J.), [1994] 2 S.C.R. 864; 170 N.R. 161; 74 O.A.C. 257; 91 C.C.C.(3d) 396, refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. McDonald (D.P.) (1997), 152 Sask.R. 81; 140 W.A.C. 81; 113 C.C.C.(3d) 418 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Jacobish (C.) (1997), 155 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 197; 481 A.P.R. 197; 119 C.C.C.(3d) 444 (Nfld. C.A.), refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Wells (J.W.) (1998), 216 A.R. 61; 175 W.A.C. 61; 125 C.C.C.(3d) 129 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Hunter (E.) (1998), 216 A.R. 72; 175 W.A.C. 72; 125 C.C.C.(3d) 121 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Young (S.) (1998), 131 Man.R.(2d) 61; 187 W.A.C. 61 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Fireman (1971), 4 C.C.C.(2d) 82 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 38].

R. v. Williams (V.D.), [1998] 1 S.C.R. 1128; 226 N.R. 162; 107 B.C.A.C. 1; 174 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 61].

R. v. C.A.M., [1996] 1 S.C.R. 500; 194 N.R. 321; 73 B.C.A.C. 81; 120 W.A.C. 81; 105 C.C.C.(3d) 327, refd to. [para. 76].

Statutes Noticed:

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 718, sect. 718.1, sect. 718.2 [para. 14].

Interpretation Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-21, sect. 12 [para. 14].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Canada, Canadian Sentencing Commission, Sentencing Reform: A Canadian Approach (1987), pp. xxiii, xxiv [para. 55].

Canada, Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice, Cor­rections Population Growth (1997), Annex B, p. 1 [para. 52].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates, vol. IV, 1st Sess., 35th Parlia­ment, pp. 5871, 5873 [para. 46].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates, vol. V, 1st Sess., 35th Parlia­ment, p. 6028 [para. 46].

Canada, Hansard, Senate Debates, vol. 135, No. 99, 1st Sess., 35th Parliament, p. 1871 [para. 46].

Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, Issue No. 62, Nov. 17, 1994, p. 62:15 [para. 47].

Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Solicitor Gen­eral, Report on Review of Sentencing, Conditional Release and Related aspects of Sentencing, Taking Responsibility (1988), pp. 50, 54, 75 [para. 56].

Canada, Law Reform Commission, Im­prisonment and Release, Working Paper No. 11 (1975), p. 5 [para. 53].

Canada, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Bridging the Cultural Divide: A Report on Aboriginal People and Crimi­nal Justice in Canada (1996), pp. 12 to 25 [para. 71]; 309 [para. 62].

Canada, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Report of, vol. 4, Perspectives and Realities (1996), pp. 521, 525 [para. 91].

Canada, Solicitor General, Consolidated Report, Towards a Just, Peaceful and Safe Society: The Corrections and Con­ditional Release Act -- Five Years Later (1998), pp. 142 to 155 [para. 58].

Canada, Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Adult Correctional Services in Canada, 1995-96 (1997), p. 30 [para. 58].

Canada, Statistics Canada, Infomat: A Weekly Review, Feb. 27, 1998, Prison Population and Costs, p. 5 [para. 52].

Canadian Corrections Association, Indians and the Law (1967), generally [para. 59].

Driedger, Elmer A., Construction of Stat­utes (2nd Ed. 1983), p. 87 [para. 25].

Driedger, Elmer A., Construction of Stat­utes (3rd Ed. 1994), p. 131 [para. 25].

Jackson, Michael, In Search of the Path­ways to Justice: Alternative Dispute Resolution in Aboriginal Communities, [1992] U.B.C.L. Rev. (Special Ed.) 147, generally [para. 71].

Jackson, Michael, Locking up Natives in Canada (1988-89), 23 U.B.C.L. Rev. 215, pp. 215, 216 [paras. 58, 60].

Kwochka, Daniel, Aboriginal Injustice: Making Room for a Restorative Paradigm (1996), 60 Sask. L. Rev. 153, p. 165 [para. 43].

Manitoba, Public Inquiry into the Adminis­tration of Justice and Aboriginal People, Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba, vol. 1, The Justice System and Aboriginal People (1991), generally [para. 59]; pp. 1 [para. 63]; 17 to 46 [para. 71]; 86 [para. 63].

Quigley, Tim, Some Issues in Sentencing of Aboriginal Offenders, in Continuing Poundmaker and Riel's Quest: Presenta­tions Made at a Conference on Aborigi­nal Peoples and Justice (1994), pp. 269 to 300 [para. 67].

Schmeiser, Douglas A., The Native Offender and the Law (1974), generally [para. 59].

United States, Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bulletin, Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 1998 (March 1998), generally [para. 52].

United States, The Sentencing Project, U.S. and International Use of Incar­ceration, 1995 (1997), p. 1 [para. 52].

Counsel:

Gil D. McKinnon, Q.C., and Michael D. Smith, for the appellant;

Wendy L. Rubin, for the respondent;

Kimberly Prost and Nancy L. Irving, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Canada;

Goran Tomljanovic, for the intervenor, Attorney General for Alberta;

Kent Roach and Kimberly R. Murray, for the intervenor, Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto Inc.

Solicitors of Record:

Gil D. McKinnon, Vancouver, B.C., for the appellant;

Ministry of the Attorney General, Vancouver, B.C., for the respondent;

Department of Justice, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Canada;

Alberta Justice, Calgary, Alberta, for the intervenor, Attorney General for Alberta;

Kent Roach and Kimberly R. Murray, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor, Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto Inc.

This appeal was heard on December 10, 1998, before Lamer, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Cory, Iacobucci, Bastarache and Binnie, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On April 23, 1999, Cory and Iacobucci, JJ., jointly delivered the following judgment in both official languages for the Supreme Court of Canada.

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