The Punishment For Knocking Up Your Disabled Daughter In Canada? House Arrest… If you Are Black

     A father impregnating his intellectually disabled daughter is a crime, even in Canada. Four to six year in jail is the typical sentence… but not if you are Black, in which case a “more nuanced approach” that results in two years of house arrest is more politically correct.

“Normally, incest would be punished with a jail sentence: two years on the low end, and 14 years maximum. Applying progressive sentencing principles, a majority of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decided late August that the father should only have to serve two years of house arrest (more reasonably, the dissenting judge believed that four years in jail was apt).


“At trial, the Crown had argued that the father should spend four to six years in jail, based on sentences that had been handed out in similar situations. It lost. On appeal, it argued the same. This was a severe crime, and it was made worse because the father violated his position of trust over his disabled daughter. Worse, he impregnated her, risking genetic harm to the child. (The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service told me Wednesday that it has not yet decided whether it’ll appeal once more to the Supreme Court of Canada.)

“The trial court, and a majority of the appeal court, didn’t buy the Crown’s argument. Why? Because the offender was remorseful and was determined unlikely to re-offend.

“Another reason was that he is Black.

“While the Crown established, using past cases, that a jail sentence of four to six years was normal for this kind of crime, the appeal court dismissed this as merely a guideline. The court also noted that the offenders, in previous cases, were not African Nova Scotians. When deciding whether offenders of such heritage should serve house arrest or jail, the court wrote that “a more nuanced approach” was required. In short, a racial discount was to be applied.

“‘The moral culpability of an African Nova Scotian offender has to be assessed in the context of historic factors and systemic racism, as was done in this case,” wrote the trial judge, with whom the majority of the appeal court agreed. “Sentencing judges should take into account the impact that social and economic deprivation, historical disadvantage, diminished and non-existent opportunities and restricted options may have had on the offender’s moral responsibility.’

“As an African Nova Scotian, the father had been impacted by “historical deprivation, social and economic deprivation as well as diminished and virtually non-existent opportunities.” In sentencing, these broad factors didn’t have to be linked to his crime to be relevant — they just needed to be present.”

     Is there any greater real privilege than to be systemically oppressed?

     After all, “all… are equal, but some are more equal than others.”.

     Hat Tip: Wesley Yang.

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