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There is evidence of systemic discrimination against Aboriginal people within the justice system.Aboriginal people are under-represented on juries, due to the manner in which potential jurors are selected and the manner in which they can be removed.Peace and harmony, the primary goals to which traditional Aboriginal concepts of justice were geared, have not been accommodated easily by an adversarial and adjudicative system.Also, it is clear that while Aboriginal peoples have many of the same legal problems as non-Aboriginal people, and some unique ones as well, they do not turn to the legal system to resolve them.As a result, they have come to mistrust the Canadian legal system and will avoid it when possible.Even when they do have to deal with it, we find that they simply minimize their exposure to it.
Their experience at the hands of the current legal system has been only slightly more positive.
Factors which case law has directed judges to take into account when deciding whether to deny or grant bail, or when considering the question of sentencing, often work against Aboriginal people. Not only is the accused judged by standards inappropriate to his or her community, but judicial dispositions may make little sense to an Aboriginal accused, because what judges take into account in sentencing may not have the same importance to the accused or to the community from which he or she comes.
The methods used by the Canadian legal system to resolve conflictsparticularly the adversarial systemare incompatible with traditional Aboriginal culture and methods of conflict resolution.
Serious matters of greatest interest to the community are not even dealt with in the community where the offence occurs.
It is not uncommon for people in Aboriginal communities to be completely uninformed about the fate of accused taken out of the community for prosecution.