Criminal Law – Sentence – Appeal – Application for Court-Appointed Counsel
The appellant applied pursuant to s. 684 of the Criminal Code for an order assigning counsel on his behalf in connection with his pending appeal. He pled guilty to committing assault with a mace contrary to s. 267(a) of the Code. Prior to sentencing, the Crown commenced dangerous offender proceedings under Part XXIII of the Code, and the sentencing judge granted the designation and imposed an indeterminate sentence (see: 2019 SKPC 32). The appellant clarified in his application that he was appealing his indeterminate sentence only on the ground that it was not fair. In his notice of appeal, drafted by him with assistance from his former counsel, he identified that there had been misapprehension of the evidence on record and insufficient weight given to Gladue factors. He was a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation and had suffered many hardships during his childhood. His education ended in grade six.
HELD: The application was granted. The court found that it was in the interests of justice to do so because the appellant would not be able to present his appeal effectively without legal representation and there was an aspect of fairness to be considered as a result of the impact of extensive Gladue factors on his life. The indeterminate sentence he received was one of the most serious penalties that can be imposed upon an offender.