Sentencing Circles, Clashing Worldviews, and the Case of Christopher Pauchay

Toby Susan Goldbach


The case of Christopher Pauchay demonstrates some of the differences
between predominant Euro-Canadian and First Nations approaches to
dispute resolution. The principles of sentencing circles sometimes overlap
with the principles of restorative justice and suggest their potential
incorporation into the criminal justice system. The use of alternative
processes that share some common values is not enough to overcome to
chasm between Euro-Western and Aboriginal justice. Where underlying
worldviews diff er, those who can choose between competing values
amidst limited possibilities will likely choose the values that refl ect the
conventional system. A comparison of Euro-Western and Aboriginal
approaches to crime and punishment clarifi es why Pauchay’s sentencing
circle was unsuccessful as an alternative option. Advocates of alternative
methods must consider more than the implementation of a process when
adapting selective cultural methods to the overarching system. Without
further evaluation, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) itself becomes
a mechanism of recolonization.

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ISSN (Print): 1705-2947
ISSN (Online): 1712-5634