Sentence confirmed. There is not enough evidence from the Indigenous offender that discloses progress substantial enough to enable a justification on the variation on her sentence of secure custody. The plan for supervision for this offender is insufficient to promote her rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
In 2018, LC was sentenced to secure custody for forty months to be followed by conditional supervision for twenty three and one half months upon her guilty plea to second degree murder. Following an annual review that confirmed that sentence to continue without change, this proceeding is the second annual review pursuant to s 94 of The Youth Criminal Justice Act [“YCJA”].
LC seeks an end to her incarceration so that she can return to her First Nation community and take steps to enroll in University of Manitoba. She would have strong family support from three sources: her mother and grandmother, who have been in court for all of the proceedings and with whom she has had visits, as well as her preschool son whose guardian is presently the youth’s mother.
Since the last review, this youth has taken steps to remove negative influences which were a concern in the last review. She has ended troubling relationships with her son’s father and with a friend who had a tangential participation in the matter for which she is serving her youth sentence. LC has applied for, and has been involved in, an ongoing program offering support to Indigenous offenders. Although her conduct at both institutions that she has served at has not been without fault, she has completed high school and is eligible for university entrance. She was described as a role model for others and is trusted with a job in the laundry.
LC struggles with self-acceptance and thinks often of how to fit in with her peers. She’s very sensitive to criticism and internalizes what others say to her or about her. She has a tendency towards people pleasing and will give up her own values to gain acceptance from others. This is to be expected given her age and life experiences. The Healing Plan includes appropriate cultural and spiritual activities to address this, including continued group attendance and continuing with Elders upon release and “spiritual guidance as requested”. It identifies jail tattooing with a history a self-harm and recommends appropriate education. The Plan does not specify how these resources would be provided, maintained and supervised. The young person seeking supervision instead of incarceration bears the onus of proof and it is not the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt (R v H(D), 2008 ONCJ 78; R v Z(AA), 2013 MBCA 33).
It is determined that LC still does not appreciate the significance of her consequences; she is serving the maximum YCJA sentence for taking a life. It is to be hoped that she continues working on this. The evidence does not disclose progress substantial enough to enable a justification on the variation sought. The plan for supervision for this offender is insufficient to promote “her rehabilitation and reintegration into society, thereby contributing to the long-term protection of the public” (YCJA, s 38(1)). Although there have been changes in her life, they are not changes that are material to what led to second degree murder. The sentence is therefore confirmed.