What are my rights as an indigenous person in youth criminal court?

1. Tell people that you are Indigenous

It’s important that you tell the people dealing with your criminal court case that you’re Indigenous. Once the court is aware of your Indigenous identity, you can exercise your rights as an Indigenous person.

These people may include:

  • the judge
  • the Crown
  • your lawyer
  • other court workers

Sometimes people dealing with your case may ask you if you’re Indigenous. But most of the time it’s up to you to let them know about your Indigenous identity.

Sharing information about your personal background might make you feel uncomfortable. But sharing this information can help the court understand your circumstances and the challenges you’ve faced. You can tell your lawyer what you’re comfortable sharing.

Indigenous court or Gladue court

Telling the court about your Indigenous identity may allow you to move your court case to Gladue court, if available. Gladue courts are only available in some courthouses.

These courts have Indigenous court workers who work closely with Indigenous agencies to help you get the support you need. They will also be able to help you find appropriate Indigenous programs and can help order a Gladue Report.

But even if there is not Gladue court, every court must apply the Gladue principles.

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