Fresh cases are necessary to modernize Gladue. One of the most impactful judgments rendered this past year was R. v. Morrisseau 2017 ONCJ 307. Anyone involved in the criminal justice system in Canada should read this case.

Morrisseau was the sentencing of an Aboriginal male from the Couchiching First Nation in Northwestern Ontario. He pleaded guilty to mischief, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and breach of undertaking. He retrieved a shotgun from the residence, loaded it and pushed his spouse out the door. His intention was to kill himself…
A compelling examination of concept of justice; post-colonialization; restorative approaches; and role of elders ensues.

Before passing sentence, Gibson provides hope. Morrisseau’s precedential value will serve to avoid making the mistakes of their predecessors. New opportunities are presented by integrating the ability of our legal system to evolve with Aboriginal teachings.

Gibson closes by making an appeal to the federal government, at para. 104 “My request is for your assistance to do justice better where they are concerned. We are misdirecting valuable community resources to the incarceration of the poor and the mentally ill …” Morrisseau was credited with time served and granted a suspended sentence with probation.

Originally Published in The Lawyer’s Daily on Monday, February 05, 2018

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