R v Paul, 2019 SKQB 142

Offender is to be sentenced as an adult, even after consideration of Gladue factors. She is to serve, concurrently, nine years imprisonment for manslaughter and two years imprisonment for unlawful confinement.

Native Law Centre CaseWatch Blog

The accused was found guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter as well as unlawful confinement. The offender was just shy of her 18th birthday at the time of the offences; as such, these proceedings fell under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, SC 2002, c 1 [“Act”]. However, the offender was to be sentenced as an adult as the Crown filed a notice and the offender had consented to that process under s 67 of the Act.

Proportionality, the fundamental principle of sentencing, the individualistic nature of sentencing, deterrence and denunciation, and rehabilitation as the offender is a young person were all taken into account. Further, sentencing must consider the Gladue factors when considering a person of Indigenous ancestry.

While on remand, the offender took advantage of some available programming but her time in remand could not be characterized as positive. The pre-sentence report ranked the offender in the highest level of risk to reoffend, and the psychological assessment report concluded she was at a high risk for future violent offending. The offender informed the court that she does understand she needs assistance and that was the primary reason she consented to an adult sentence to take advantage of the programming. She has been connected with her family since being incarcerated. She oscillates between expressions of remorse and pride at her capacity for violence and defiance, but stated she was sorry at the sentencing hearing which was taken as sincere.

Counsel agreed that the sentencing range for manslaughter is 4 to 11 years, with a starting point of 7 years. In some circumstances, a suitable sentence will fall outside the range. Two cases were relied on, R v Whitehead, 2016 SKCA 165 and R v Littlewolfe, 2002 SKCA 143. The prolonged nature of the attack and extent of physical violence inflicted on the victim were aggravating circumstances in this case. As for mitigating factors, her youth was a mitigating factor as well as not initially being the leader in the attack. The offender was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for manslaughter and two years imprisonment for unlawful confinement, to be served concurrently.

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