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January 7, 2009

"Sask man whose daughters froze to death to face aboriginal sentencing circle"

The title of this post is the title of this new article from The Canadian Press.  Here are some of the intriguing specifics:

A Saskatchewan father whose two young daughters froze to death when he took them out in a numbing blizzard will face an aboriginal sentencing circle, but Christopher Pauchay's lawyer says that doesn't mean he'll get off lightly.

Provincial court Judge Barry Morgan on Wednesday approved Pauchay's bid to have the aboriginal community help determine a punishment. "It's not going to be a way to get out of jail free. It's just a way to have more detail and more insight into this particular offender," defence lawyer Ron Piche told The Canadian Press after reading Morgan's decision....  

Pauchay, 25, pleaded guilty in November to criminal negligence causing death.  The single charge covered the deaths of both children and Pauchay's failure "to provide protection from exposure to the elements" in temperatures that would have felt like -50 C with the wind chill.  It was nearly a year ago when he left his home on the Yellow Quill First Nation with his daughters Kaydance, 3, and Santana, 1.

The Court heard that Pauchay had been drinking and didn't remember much about that night.  He did recall that one of his girls was hurt and he needed to get help.  But once outside, the children became separated from their father.  Pauchay eventually made it to a neighbour's house in the early morning of Jan. 29 and was taken to hospital suffering from severe frostbite and hypothermia. Eight hours later, when he was able to speak, he asked about his children.... 

Piche, who believes a conditional sentence is appropriate, said Pauchay "has suffered and will suffer for the rest of his life."  He also said Pauchay told him that he's not afraid of going to jail. "He's living his own punishment on a daily basis."  However, Piche also noted that Morgan will have the final say on what is an appropriate sentence.

A sentencing circle is usually made up of members of the community, the victim, the victim's family and elders. Everyone has a chance to talk about the crime and to suggest punishment that might be appropriate. A judge still imposes the sentence and can ignore the recommendations of the sentencing circle.

Crown prosecutor Marylynne Beaton, who opposed the sentencing circle, could not immediately be reached for comment. However, she had told court that the crime was far too serious for a sentencing circle, usually reserved for criminals who won't face more than two years behind bars. The Crown is seeking a sentence of 2 1/2 to five years in prison.

January 7, 2009 at 04:54 PM | Permalink


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It would be nice if, in this country, we were all governed by the same laws and paid the same penalties with the justice system if we break those laws. No matter what color your skin. It is racist to say that because you have a certain skin color you will be dealt with differently. Let's be equal. Isn't that fair?

Posted by: Carmen | Jan 7, 2009 11:23:31 PM

Or, you can live in this country where Native Americans are given a monopoly on gambling-so much for equality under the law.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 8, 2009 2:08:37 AM

5 yrs? for this??

federalist, you need to read your history.

Posted by: rothmatisseko | Jan 9, 2009 5:37:38 PM

Should we be dealing with someone that killed his own 2 daughters this lightly? This man (only 25 remember) already has a criminal record of more than 50 convictions. When anyone else goes to trial after committing a crime this severe, a jury is selected of strangers. Why should he have his closest family and friends deciding his punishment? Do Canadians of other skin color or background have that option? We should all be held accountable for our actions - plain and simple. The government really needs to put an end to this blatent discrimination. I realize that the judge has the absolute final say but the fact that the justice system is even entertaining this idea is outrageous.

Posted by: Carmen | Jan 12, 2009 10:53:55 PM

Don't forget, the justice system in this country is not fair towards aboriginal people, If an aboriginal is murdered by someone of a different nationality, that person gets off lightly. If an aboriginal kills another aboriginal they would most likely be sentenced to two to five years but get off on good behaviour or time served but if an aboriginal murders someone of a different nationality they get 25- life. Basically the justice system and obviously the government are allowing aboriginals to kill each other off. Is this fair? No. This individual should get the same treatment he would get if he killed a non aboriginal.

Posted by: PearlS | Aug 4, 2009 2:09:30 PM

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