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Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation man found guilty of manslaughter for death of partner

Click to play video: 'Precedent setting manslaughter sentencing sets the tone for future domestic violence cases in Saskatchewan.' Precedent setting manslaughter sentencing sets the tone for future domestic violence cases in Saskatchewan.
Jamie Smallchild will be serving 13 years and two months in prison after deducting time already served from the sentencing of three assaults and the manslaughter of his partner Jessica Cameron. The crown said the sentence is higher than usual because of two provisions which were added to the Canadian judicial system in 2019 which are meant to focus on the vulnerability of Indigenous women. – May 19, 2022

It’s a case that has drawn calls for action from Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) advocates. And today is the day 33-year-old Jessica Cameron‘s family has been waiting for.

Outside the courthouse on the Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation (BOCN), family and community members gather wearing red shirts and carrying signs as well as pictures of Cameron to support the family and lament the death of another Indigenous woman.

On May 18, 2022, Jamie Smallchild was sentenced for what the judge called a ‘brutal killing.’ Smallchild received a stiffer sentence than usual.

He received a hefty prison sentence – two and a half years in prison for three assault charges and a 15 year domestic violence manslaughter sentence for the death of his partner, Cameron on July 6, 2019. Giving credit for time spent in remand, Smallchild has 13 years and 2 months left to spend in prison.

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Read more: Families remember their loved ones on MMIW National Awareness Day

The Crown Prosecutor says the usual sentence for domestic violence manslaughter is anywhere between 10 to 12 years.

In 2019, two provisions were added to the judicial system recognizing Indigenous women and girls as vulnerable. The presiding judge decided to put these provisions into account when giving Smallchild a higher sentence – than usual.

“This sets a precedent to start using those sections more in sentencing when we look at Indigenous women and girls as victims,” said Leslie Dunning, Crown Prosecutor.

Cameron’s father Martin said he is glad the court proceedings are finally over.

“The healing journey will now begin,” he said. “We are satisfied with the verdict (that) the judge passed. Justice has been served for our beloved daughter, Jessica and her children.”

Cameron’s uncle, Warren Seesequasis, said in First Nations society a man’s role is to protect and honour women.

Read more: Sask. man charged with murder after woman found dead in minivan crash

“You should protect your children, grandchildren and more so, protect the family,” said Seesequasis. “That didn’t happen here.”

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The family says they will still continue to keep Cameron’s memory alive and advocate against domestic violence. Cameron was a mother of 7 and was described as someone who was outgoing, friendly and who truly cared for others.

Click to play video: 'Sask. man charged with murder after woman found dead in minivan crash' Sask. man charged with murder after woman found dead in minivan crash
Sask. man charged with murder after woman found dead in minivan crash – Jul 8, 2019

– With files from Montana Getty

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