Judicial Review Hearings:
A Reprieve from Breach Charges for Indigenous Offenders in the Yukon?
by Laurie Schamber
On July 21, 2019, Bill C-75 received royal assent, that implied a shift in the way the criminal justice system operates in Canada. Specifically, it would address the often lengthy and on-going involvement of mostly marginalized offenders in the criminal justice system due to administration of justice offences (AOJO) by implementing Judicial Review Hearings related to AOJO.
Aboriginal offenders in the North and more specifically, the Yukon, have much to gain if these new laws are utilized correctly by both police forces and crown counsels. These new laws under Bill C-75 will not only reduce the number of all offenders charged with and convicted of AOJO’s, but more important, we should see a significant reduction in the already disproportionate number of Aboriginal offenders in the criminal justice system due to AOJO offences.
Society and Parliament have come to recognize that AOJO do not meet the required standard for a criminal offence and have acted. While the success of the judicial review hearings remains to be seen, this is a positive step towards keeping marginalized populations like Aboriginal offenders out of the justice system.