“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

Verdict scheduled in Giesbrecht murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court justice will render his decision May 24

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Interior News welcomes new reporter

Trevor Hewitt joins the newspaper team

Mayor, Pinnacle Pellet COO respond to Clear Air Now concerns

Council also orders staff to draw up lease for permanent air quality monitoring station at Muheim

Everybody now, say it with me, correlation is not causation

Thom Barker takes up the cause of voluntarily vaccinating

UPDATE: Four victims identified in deadly Penticton shooting spree

John Brittain, 68, faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Hwang’s first MLS goal lifts Whitecaps to 1-0 win over LAFC

Vancouver picks up first victory of season

Child-proof your windows ahead of warm weather: B.C. expert

Fifteen children were taken to BC Children’s Hospital for falls in 2018

B.C. trucker pleads guilty to lesser charges in fatal Manitoba crash

Gurjant Singh was fined $3,000 and given a one-year driving prohibition.

Study links preschool screen time to behavioural and attention problems

The research looked at more than 2,400 families

More than $100,000 raised for family of professional skier who died near Pemberton

Dave Treadway leaves behind his pregnant wife and two young boys

BC SPCA asks public for donations after puppy caught in trap

The puppy’s medical bills are expected to amount to more than $4,600

B.C. party bus monitors required to watch for booze, drugs on board

New rule in time for grad outings, minister Claire Trevena says

Most Read