11 Jan 2009

Canadian faces native sentence over girls' deaths

3:29 pm on 11 January 2009

A Canadian man who pleaded guilty to criminal negligence over the deaths of his two infant daughters in a blizzard will face a controversial native sentencing circle to help determine his punishment.

It was nearly a year ago when Christopher Pauchay, who had been drinking heavily, left his home on the Yellowquill Reserve in Saskatchewan with his two daughters, aged three and one, and took them out in a minus 50 degree Celsius blizzard.

Pauchay does not remember what happened but the girls froze to death.

The judge in the case has approved a defence request for a native sentencing circle, to help determine a punishment.

It is made up of members of the reserve, the victims family and elders.

Aboriginal law experts say a sentencing circle is no free ride because offenders are made more accountable to their community, the ABC reports.

The judge will consider the circle's recommendations, but will still determine the final sentence.