MMIW inquiry should look at youth sentencing, says Kwanlin Dün chief

Chief Doris Bill says the Youth Criminal Justice Act prevents some criminals 'from getting the sentence that they really, truly deserve.' She points to the recent sentencing of Brandy Vittrekwa's killer.

Chief Doris Bill says Brandy Vittrekwa's teen killer did not get sentence he deserved

'I don’t think the sentence in that case was justice for anyone. Particularly for Brandy, and particularly for her family,' said Kwanlin Dün First Nation chief Doris Bill. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

Kwanlin Dün First Nation chief Doris Bill says the upcoming national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women should take a close look at the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Bill points to the recent sentencing of the teenage boy who admitted to killing 17-year-old Brandy Vittrekwa in Whitehorse in 2014.

The youth, who was 15 at the time, beat Vittrekwa unconscious and left her alongside a trail in a Whitehorse subdivision. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was given the maximum sentence for manslaughter under the Youth Criminal Justice Act — two years in custody and one year of supervision outside of jail. 

Demonstrators in front of the Yukon courthouse, a day before Brandy Vittrekwa's killer was to be sentenced last month. (Vic Istchenko/CBC)

"I don't think the sentence reflected the crime," Bill said. "And I think that that is something that the inquiry needs to look at.

"It needs to look at these systemic things that block these people from getting the sentences that they really, truly deserve."

Earlier this week, the draft terms of reference for the inquiry were circulated online, drawing criticism from some who say they "lack teeth"

The terms of reference aren't finished yet, but the draft says commissioners would focus on the prevention of violence, and identifying systemic causes of violence and recommend "concrete action" to help end violence against Indigenous women and girls.

With files from Cheryl Kawaja