TORONTO — Ontario’s top court says anti-Black racism must be confronted, mitigated and erased, but it has declined to set out a framework for taking it into account in sentencing.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario was asked to contemplate the issue in the appeal over the sentence for a 26-year-old man for carrying a loaded firearm.
Kevin Morris was sentenced to 15 months, but the Crown appealed, saying it was “manifestly unfit.”
The sentencing judge had taken into account the disadvantages and systemic anti-Black racism Morris had faced growing up in Toronto.
Some intervenors in the appeal, including the Black Legal Action Centre, called for a standardized framework for sentencing Black people.
The Appeal Court says in its decision today that courts should give a “generous gateway” for admitting evidence about the effect of anti-Black racism on an offender, but the specific sentencing framework for Indigenous offenders does not apply to Black offenders.
The court increased Morris’ sentence to two years less a day, but stayed the sentence, meaning he won’t have to serve more time in jail.