A man who was convicted of firearms and drug offences has been given zero jail time upon appeal due to the fact that the judge failed to consider that the man was of indigenous heritage, according to the Vancouver Sun.
The man in question is from British Columbia and is of Metis heritage. He was convicted of heroin possession for the purpose of trafficking and for having a loaded firearm. Originally, the man was sentenced to 40 months in prison.
This incident occurred on October 8, 2018. Furthermore, when the police searched the man's house, they discovered a .38-calibre pistol, 23 grams of heroin and a bulletproof vest.
In the original trial, neither the judge nor jury considered the man's indigenous heritage. In British Columbia, alongside a number of Canadian provinces, indigenous Canadians have access to alternative sentencing.
“Consistent with the experience of a disproportionate number of Indigenous people in Canada, Mr. Mero’s childhood was traumatic, he was unable to complete school, his life was marred with addictions, and he came into conflict with the law,” said the judge.
According to the judge who oversaw the appeal, a number of systemic factors continue to impact individuals of Metis heritage. These include colonialism, displacement, racism, and residential schools.
On top of this, the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Canadian jails is also considered.
The individual will now face house arrest and 12-month's probation, alongside community work.