Newest A2J All-Stars!NSRLP
Pictured above left to right: Brant County Crown Attorney Robert Kindon, Justice Kevin Sherwood, Six Nations community elder Jan Longboat and Justice Gethin Edward, holding a wampum belt, symbolizing the desire to care for all who enter the Brantford Indigenous Persons Court.
NSRLP’s December A2J All-Stars are Sarah Dover, Justice Gethin Edward, and Justice Kevin Sherwood. The trio is nominated by Rosemary Rich, a legal writer and researcher, for their innovative and important work in creating the Indigenous Persons Court in Brantford.
The Indigenous Persons Court in Brantford opened at Brantford’s Ontario Court of Justice in 2014. It is a response to the gross over-representation of the aboriginal community within Canada’s criminal justice system – while aboriginal people comprise 4% of Canada’s population, they constitute 23% of the prison population. Pre-sentencing reports prepared for the Indigenous Persons Court offer judges an in-depth examination of the background of aboriginal offenders, including experiences of abuse, addiction and intergenerational trauma relating to residential school experiences (so-called Gladue reports). The Brantford Indigenous Persons Court also works to implement community support to facilitate healing and rehabilitation.
Rosemary describes how this initiative would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of Dover, Edward, and Sherwood.
“Brantford criminal defense attorney Sarah Dover was tireless in her efforts to bring an Indigenous Persons Court to Brantford. She, along with Ontario Court Justice Gethin Edward and Justice Kevin Sherwood, were instrumental in propelling the project to success. Enhancing services for Aboriginal members of our community is an essential part of expanding access to justice for all Ontarians. The Brantford, Ontario Indigenous Persons Court initiative also serves as a reminder to those in the legal community that it is possible to effect change at the community level, in very practical ways, when co-operation, understanding and desire converge.”