Purpose and Principles of Sentencing Aboriginal Offenders

What About Aboriginal Offenders?

Section 718.2(e) of the code states 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.”

This section does not give the courts unrestricted power.

As will be discussed at length in the next module, the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of R v Gladue addressed what does this clause mean?

Key to this section is that when considering what is a "just" sentence the Court is gererally concerned with

(a) getting to know who the person is, and (b) what were the circumstances surrounding the offene that the person was just convicted of?

Judicial Notice of Aboriginal Disadvantage in Canadian Society

As will also be discussed in the next module and is a very important point – In the Gladue case the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it is a matter of judicial notice that Aboriginal peoples have a long standing disadvantage in Canadian Society.

And the court also stated that the purpose of this section is to utilize restorative justice principles in accordance with Aboriginal traditions. We will discuss this further in the next module.