TORONTO – The Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) is disappointed by the Court of Appeal for Ontario’s decision in R. v. Morris. The Court failed to take a strong stance and ensure that every sentencing judge across the province meaningfully considers anti-Black racism when sentencing a Black person.

Read BLAC’s full analysis here.

As an intervener in the case, BLAC – together with the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) – proposed that, given the historical and current manifestations of anti-Black racism in this country, including discrimination in the criminal justice system, the Court should implement a standardized framework for sentencing Black people.

“From R. v. Parks in 1993 to R. v. Le in 2019, Canada’s courts have long-recognized the pervasive role of anti-Black racism in the criminal justice system. And yet, Black people in Canada continue to be disproportionately represented in the system,” said Nana Yanful, BLAC’s Legal Director. “The decision today falls short. Without a new or different sentencing framework, we are concerned that the recognition of anti-Black racism and consideration of historical, social and background factors of Black people will be of no consequence.”

“BLAC is disappointed in today’s ruling.  We will continue to work to eradicate anti-Black racism in the criminal justice system and beyond and will consider other avenues to meaningfully address the overrepresentation of Black people in Canada’s jails and prisons,” said Moya Teklu, BLAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel.

The lawyers representing BLAC in this matter are Nana Yanful, Legal Director at BLAC, and Jonathan A. Shime from Cooper, Sandler, Shime & Bergman LLP. BLAC is immensely grateful for their work.

Read the decision here.

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