“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

FVRL launches Cubetto’s Grand Tour across 14 libraries

Friendly wooden robot travels Fraser Valley teaching programming basics to those as young as three

Chilliwack Hospice Society gearing up for annual Hike

Funds raised at Chilliwack walk remain local to help support programs for community members

Gas prices in Metro Vancouver hit $1.72 a litre

And one analyst expects it to only go higher this week

PHOTO: Pollination time

Hyacinths attract bees looking for pollen

Chilliwack school board making effort to foster better relationships

Board reaching out to parents via dinner event, and online forum

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘shoe house’ in Northern B.C.

A rare look inside the famous Kitseguecla Lake Road shoe house, with a tour led by owner Toby Walsh

Thieves steal five of Seven Dwarves ornaments honouring B.C. couple’s late son

For the second time in a year, several garden ornaments stolen from Cloverdale family’s front garden

Child, 11, accidentally shot in the chest at Alberta religious colony

Child taken from Hutterite colony to nearby hospital

Ceremonies, vigils planned in Toronto to honour victims of deadly van attack

Many of those who helped that day — first responders and Good Samaritans alike — still affected

Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks, says Sri Lanka minister

The Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the nine bombings

Update: Court proceeding for man charged in fatal church shooting adjourned unil May

Matrix Savage Gathergood charged with first degree murder, aggravated assault

RCMP looking to retrace steps of woman found dead on Kelowna beach

Caitlin Midori Bradley, a 29-year-old dancer at a Kelowna bar, was originally from Surrey

Most Read