Canadian judges use race as a reason to reduce criminal sentences—though a defendant claims he used it to exploit the system

"I didn't face racism. It was my only way out of this situation. I took full advantage."


Race-based ideology is increasingly contaminating Canada's justice system. It's racism in a new form, where being non-white can actually help you justify the commission of a crime and reduce consequence sentencing.

According to an article from Rupa Subramanya of The Free Press, Canadian judges are using race as a mitigating factor in assessing and punishing crimes.

All an accused has to do is submit an Impact of Race and Culture Assessment, or IRCA – a pre-sentencing document available to "Black and racialized Canadians" who can then attempt to prove how system racism was a reason they broke the law. 

The Free Press notes the case of Edward Smith, who came to Canada from West Africa in 2005 and eventually settled in Edmonton, AB. He participated in an armed robbery of an Airbnb with his cousin, apparently because the latter believed the owners of the accommodation had stolen money from him.

They agreed to conduct the crime with an unloaded gun.

But their operation was foiled; police arrested Smith, who pleaded guilty to theft and robbery with a firearm.

Then he filed an IRCA and Smith bought into the highly debatable ideology and judicial premise of the document – that as a black man living in Canada he was obviously a victim of racism and hatred that prevented him from the same opportunities available to white people and thus made criminal activity almost a justifiable option.

Smith had a black activist named Dunia Nur prepare his IRCA, Subramanya reported. She told the reporter that she filled in the document in order for the judge to properly assess Smith's "background" and "history." 

Smith gave Subramanya a copy of the IRCA from the convict himself. She noted that the four-page report contains absolutely no evidence that Smith was ever subjected to everyday examples of racism such being physically attacked, enduring racial epithets or ever losing a job because of his race. 

He couldn't even list any microaggressions committed against him.

What it does say is that Smith had a rough childhood and adolescence—the refugee camp in Ghana, his father's absence, immigrating to Canada, his early run-ins with the law. The IRCA describes Smith as one who "identifies as an African Canadian" who is of "Liberian heritage," and has "a feeling of disconnection with his culture."

The argument apparently worked. As The Free Press notes, a judge let Smith off relatively easily. He got out of jail after only six months, with court-appointed supervision. Without taking his race into consideration, he would probably have been sentenced to eight years in prison.

"I didn't face racism," Smith told Subramanya, admitting that he exploited the system to his benefit. "It was my only way out of this situation. I took full advantage."

IRCAs have been slowly infecting the Canadian judiciary since 2014, The Free Press reports, with the first such document being submitted in a Nova Scotia case where a black teenager shot his cousin in the stomach and was charged with attempted murder.

The incident almost coincided with the formation of Black Lives Matter in the US.

It took some time for the IRCA to transcend the interest of woke activists and become a part of judicial practice. But it has done that. Subramanya notes, "Now, it's taken for granted among Canadian criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and law professors that the assessments are a necessary tool for curbing the 'overrepresentation' of black and indigenous prisoners."


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