Your Gladue Rights
Due to the R. v. Gladue decision, Judges now have a duty to review information coming from a Gladue Report (or made through Gladue Submissions) that outlines the unique systemic or background factors which may have played a part in bringing the particular individual before the Court.
The Canadian Criminal Code under s718.2(e) states "all available sanctions, other than imprisonment, that are reasonable in the circumstances and consistent with the harm done to victims or to the community should be considered for all offenders, with particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders."
Judges have a duty to apply Gladue principles, irrespective of the charge and regardless of which court the offender appears in.
Why do Gladue Reports matter?
Gladue Reports play an important role in enabling judges to fulfil their duty. When done correctly, Gladue Reports assist the court to understand the individual circumstances of the offender AND determine a "fit sentence". In other words, Gladue Reports outline the "systemic and background factors" of an Aboriginal offender, lay out a plan to address the root cause of their offence(s) and offer restorative justice options that are non-custodial in nature.
The Supreme Court of Canada highlighted this perspective squarely in R. v. Ipeelee (2012) saying that “the sentencing process is “…an appropriate forum for addressing Aboriginal overrepresentation in Canada’s prisons” (Ipeelee at para 70), demonstrating the significant need to alter sentencing practices for Aboriginal offenders from the ineffective yet ongoing retributive practices.