R v Gladue

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R v Gladue
Supreme Court of Canada
Hearing: April 23, 1999
Judgment: December 19, 1999
Full case nameJamie Tanis Gladue v Her Majesty The Queen
Citations[1999] 1 S.C.R. 688
RulingAppeal dismissed
Court Membership
Chief Justice: Antonio Lamer
Puisne Justices: Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, Charles Gonthier, Beverley McLachlin, Frank Iacobucci, John C. Major, Michel Bastarache, Ian Binnie, Louise Arbour
Reasons given
Unanimous reasons byCory and Iacobucci JJ.

R v Gladue[1] is a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the sentencing principles that are outlined under s. 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code. s. 718.2(e)[2] directs the courts to take into account the history of the offender, "with particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders", and also directs the courts to seek, "all available sanctions, other than imprisonment".[1]


On September 16, 1995, Jamie Tanis Gladue, a young Indigenous woman, was celebrating her 19th birthday with some friends in Nanaimo, British Columbia. She suspected that her boyfriend was having an affair with her older sister. Following a confrontation, her boyfriend repeatedly insulted Gladue, at which point she stabbed him in the chest. Jaime Tanis Gladue was subsequently charged with manslaughter and was sentenced to three years imprisonment.[3]

At Jaime Tanis Gladue’s sentencing hearing the judge took into account many aggravating factors. The court also took into account the absence of any serious criminal history. The court did not take into consideration Jaime Gladue’s traumatic past, such as the fact that Jaime Gladue’s mother was killed in a car accident, when Jaime Gladue was only 14 years old.[1] The trial judge held that s. 718.2(e)[2] did not apply to Indigenous People who were off-reserve. The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the sentence.[3]

Reasons of the court[edit]

Justice Cory and Justice Iacobucci held that the courts below erred in taking an overly narrow approach of s. 718.2(e). The purpose of this provision is to address the historical and current problem with the severe over-representation of Indigenous people within the criminal justice system. In Canada, Indigenous people make up 25% of the Federal prison population, despite representing only 4% of the Canadian population. [4]


Jaime Gladue was not on reserve land at the time of the offense and therefore her s. 718.2(e) rights were never taken into consideration. It was later noted and stated that section 718.2(e) applies to “all aboriginal persons wherever they reside, whether on- or off-reserve, in a large city or a rural area”.[1]


In 1999, the Gladue Courts and Gladue reports were created following R v Gladue. Gladue reports were implemented in an attempt to lower the severe over-representation of Indigenous people within the Canadian criminal justice system. Some of the items noted on a Gladue Report include the tragic history, cultural oppression, poverty, abuse suffered and residential school attendance of the Indigenous offender.[5]

Important Links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d R v Gladue, [1999] 1 SCR 688.
  2. ^ a b Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 718.2(e).
  3. ^ a b R v Gladue, 1997 CanLII 3015 (BC CA).
  4. ^ Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "Adult correctional statistics in Canada, 2014/2015. Table 5 Admissions to adult correctional services, by characteristic of persons admitted, type of supervision and jurisdiction, 2014/2015". www150.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  5. ^ "English | Gladue Sentencing Principles". gladueprinciples.editmy.website. Retrieved 2018-12-03.