R v Ingram, 2020 BCPC 168

The Court concluded that the joint submission put forth by counsel is appropriate given the unique circumstances of the Indigenous offender who committed intimate partner violence against his late Indigenous partner. The sentence imposed is 60 days’ new jail to be served in the community in the form of a conditional sentence with conditions, followed by a 12 months probationary term.

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Mr. Ingram has admitted, through his guilty plea, that he assaulted his intimate partner contrary to s 266 of the Criminal Code. Counsel gave a joint submission on sentence, in which the Court may only depart if the proposed sentence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute or if the proposed sentence is otherwise contrary to the public interest (R v Anthony Cook, 2016 SCC 43). The Court must also consider what impact, if any, the COVID 19 pandemic has had on the sentencing process (R v Stevens, 2020 BCPC 104).

Mr. Ingram got into an altercation with Ms. Ryan and the police were called. During the course of that altercation, Mr. Ingram would not allow Ms. Ryan to leave. He pushed Ms. Ryan and then bit her on the face. The police arrived soon thereafter and took a statement from Ms. Ryan. They saw physical swelling to her face where she had been bitten. Ultimately charges were approved and a warrant was issued for the arrest of Mr. Ingram. Ms. Ryan, did not deserve what happened to her and needs to be recognized for the vulnerable person that she was. Ms. Ryan, has passed, having died of a drug overdose. She was a First Nations woman. It is often difficult to reconcile the reality of giving meaning to the principles of sentencing applicable to Aboriginal offenders when the victim, as per s 718.201 of the Criminal Code, is herself an Aboriginal female victim.

Mr. Ingram is a member of the Haida Nation, identifying with the Old Masset Band. When it comes to Gladue factors, Mr. Ingram’s parents are residential school survivors. The ill effects that have followed down through the years have resulted in him accumulating a seven page criminal record at the age of 47. Mr. Ingram has some 11 convictions for breach of undertaking or recognizances of bail and some 12 convictions for breach of probation, four assaults with a weapon, one assault causing bodily harm, and six uttering threats. Many of the convictions are designated as K files, which in British Columbia is a designation that the offence involves domestic violence, now more commonly known as intimate partner violence. However, Mr. Ingram has accumulated zero breaches since the offence date while being on very strict bail conditions, including a curfew. It has included Mr. Ingram becoming, perhaps for the first time in his adult life, a sober and drug free individual who has sought out and taken counselling.

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