A B.C. Supreme Court justice criticized what he called a “cottage industry” of reports for aboriginal sentencing, saying the documents are becoming of little use.
The comments by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley came Friday in Kamloops during a sentencing hearing for Damien Taylor, who was found guilty of murdering his 16-year-old girlfriend CJ Fowler of Terrace.
Gladue reports are pre-sentencing reports that speak to aboriginal factors in sentencing. The name stems from the 1999 R. v. Gladue Supreme Court of Canada decision.
Dley called the Gladue report prepared for Taylor’s sentencing hearing “page after page of material that’s completely irrelevant.
“I’m concerned it’s a cottage industry so authors are cutting and pasting voluminous reports of no assistance that can often be misleading,” he said.
Taylor’s father was an aboriginal offender, but he was taken from his parents at nine months of age and raised by his grandparents in a stable home.
Dley said that upbringing did not expose Taylor to abuse and alcoholism that are often found in the childhood of aboriginal offenders.
The sentencing judge complained the report prepared for Taylor, which caused months of delay due to demand for report writers, was of little use to understanding Taylor’s aboriginal background. Dley said the author mistakenly advocated for the lightest sentence possible for Taylor rather than focusing on aboriginal factors that contributed to his offending.
“What may have been a benefit may be almost irrelevant sentencing material,” Dley said.
Both defence and Crown lawyers have suggested today that Taylor should serve anywhere from 10 to 15 years in jail before he is eligible for parole.
Taylor was convicted last year of second-degree murder in connection to the death in Kamloops of his 16-year-old girlfriend CJ Fowler in December 2012.
Crown prosecutor Alexandra Janse argued for a sentence in the range of 13 to 15 years, while defence lawyer Don Campbell said Taylor’s extreme crystal-meth use and youth should lessen his sentence to between 10 and 12 years before parole eligibility.
Regardless, it will be a life sentence and Taylor will always be on parole once he is released.
At trial, court heard the pair was visiting friends in Kamloops in December 2012.
The Crown’s case was built on circumstantial evidence.
Fowler’s body, with a concrete chunk on her chest, was found by a person walking their dog in Guerin Creek near downtown Kamloops on Dec. 5, 2012. The couple was last seen on closed-circuit cameras at Royal Inland Hospital, where doctors earlier told the couple that Fowler was pregnant.
Fowler had gone to hospital complaining of symptoms from crystal-meth use. Taylor testified he had used large amounts of the drug during his time in Kamloops.
A pathologist testified Fowler choked to death when her tongue became trapped in her airway, the result of at least one blow to her head and face.
From Kamloops This Week