NWAC applauds ruling that strikes down law barring judges from imposing conditional sentences

APTN News (Canada)
Pub Date: 
Saturday, July 25, 2020 - 03:35

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is applauding an Ontario court ruling Friday that strikes down a law that bars a judge from imposing conditional sentences for certain offences.

&;Our young women are over-represented in the prisons across this country, largely as a result of the legacy of historical wrongs committed against our people,” said NWAC President Lorraine Whitman in a statement. “The courts must be given options to keep them out of the correctional system whenever possible.&;

In a 2-1 ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal found the provisions of the Criminal Code run afoul of the charter because of their impact on Indigenous offenders.

&;The impugned amendments deprive the court of an important means to redress systemic discrimination against Aboriginal people when considering an appropriate sanction,&; the court said. &;The reality is that the act will result in more Indigenous offenders serving their sentences in jail rather than in their communities.&;

The decision comes in the case of Ojibwa mother Cheyenne Sharma, 25, and member of Saugeen First Nation. In 2015 Sharma was caught smuggling almost two kilograms of cocaine into Canada from South America.