R. v. Wells

Supreme Court of Canada – [2000] 1 S.C.R. 207

Alberta Criminal law

Summary

This case completes Gladue, delivered the year before.

While Gladue establishes the criteria to consider when determining the sentence for an aboriginal offender, Wells explains that when the infraction is very serious and that deterrence is needed, the appropriate sentence might be the same whether the offender is Aboriginal or not

Issue

Is incarceration a justified sentence for an aboriginal offender, when denunciation and deterrence are the main objectives to attain?


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R. v. Ipeelee

Supreme Court of Canada – [2012] 1 S.C.R. 433

Nunavut Criminal law

Summary

This decision determines the principles to be taken into account with regards to sentencing Aboriginal offenders for breach of long-term supervision orders (LTSOs).

In order for a sentencing decision made with regards to an Aboriginal offender to be upheld by a higher court, it must take into account his or her special circumstances as mandated by s. 718.1(e) of the Criminal Code.

Issue

  1. What are the principles governing the sentencing of Aboriginal offenders?
  2. How do those principles apply to the breach of an LTSO?
  3. Are the sentences imposed on either Mr. Ipeelee or Mr. Ladue unfit or made in error?


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E.B. v. Order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the Province of British Columbia

Supreme Court of Canada – [2005] 3 S.C.R. 45

British Columbia Criminal lawResidential school

Summary

A victim of Indian residential schools tries to have the responsible order recognized responsible for the actions of its religious congregation for the actions of one of its employees that was not an educator. Although such a claim was successful in Blackwater, it was not in this case.

Issue

Can the Catholic Order operating a residential school be liable for sexual assault committed on site by one of its employee?


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R. v. Decorte

Supreme Court of Canada – [2005] 1 S.C.R. 9

Ontario Criminal lawGovernance (self-determination, self-government)

Summary

The Supreme Court of Canada recognizes the role and validity of First Nations’ polices.

Issue

Was Decorte illegally detained when he was stopped by the First Nations constables?


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Blackwater v. Plint

Supreme Court of Canada – [2005] 3 S.C.R. 3

British Columbia Criminal lawResidential school

Summary

The Court recognizes the potential responsibility of religious organizations for offenses committed in residential schools. It also recognizes that the federal government is responsible for these crimes.

Issue

Can the government of Canada and the United Church of Canada be liable to former residential school students? If so, on what legal basis, and what damages can be awarded?


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R. v. Gladue

Supreme Court of Canada – [1999] 1 S.C.R. 688

British Columbia Criminal law

Summary

Gladue is a leading case in aboriginal criminality. It must apply when sentencing an Aboriginal offender: judges have to consider his historical and social context in order to make their decision.

Issue

What are the considerations to be taken into account when sentencing an Aboriginal offender?


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The Queen v. Drybones

Supreme Court of Canada – [1970] S.C.R. 282

Northwest Territories Criminal lawDiscriminationIndian Act

Summary

This case deals with the discrimination that can result from the Indian Act. The Court here decides that the Act was discriminatory because it prevented Indians from doing what the rest of the population has the ability to do.

The decision was partially overturned four years later in the Lavell case.

Issue

Does s. 94 of the Indian Act, which provides that an Indian who is drunk outside of a reserve is guilty of a criminal offence, violate the Canadian Bill of Rights? Is it therefore inoperative?


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