B.C. Appeal Court seeks chance to clarify sentencing rules of people with Indigenous backgrounds
The B.C. Court of Appeal wants to hear a B.C. man’s appeal of his sentence on assault and gun crimes, saying it will give the province’s highest court a chance to write guidelines for judges on cases where the accused has a tenuous link to Indigenous heritage.
Appeal Court Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein, in ordering that a lawyer be appointed to represent Jonathan David Olson, cited the fact that the lower court judge didn’t consider the possibility he was Indigenous during sentencing. Olson was sentenced to 11½ years in prison.
“His appeal poses an opportunity for this court to clarify how sentencing judges ought to treat a tenuous connection between an offender and their Indigenous heritage,” Stromberg-Stein wrote.
She said clarity is needed in light of another decision by the appeal court earlier this year that “commented on intergenerational impacts of an offender’s disconnection from their Indigenous heritage,” when it reduced the sentence for aggravated assault for David Johnathan Michael Kehoe, a Métis man who only learned of his Indigenous heritage on his mother’s side as an adult.
Leave a Reply