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Toronto ‘spiceman’ case sent to unique restorative justice program before sentencing

Aug 21, 2014

From the Torstar New Service article:

Before Naveen Polapady is sentenced for assaulting and throwing spices at a man he says he believed was a thief, he and the man he injured will take the unusual step of talking it out — no lawyers present.

Polapady’s case was referred to a “vibrant restorative justice mediation service” at the St. Stephen’s Community House in Kensington Market, Crown attorney John Flaherty told the court Monday morning.

It may be a chance for Manuel Belo, who needed six stitches to the head and was covered in welts after the violent altercation three years ago outside Polapady’s restaurant, to get redress for the wrongs done to him, the court heard.

....At this stage in the process, “we help the offender understand the harm he might have caused, and in part we try to find ways to assure society that this person really achieved some ‘aha’ moments about having done wrong … and what other choices they might have made,” Axford says.

For the victim, the process can provide reassurances about their future safety, beyond the offender being ordered to perform community service or participate in anger-management programs, she added.

“It also allows the person who received harm to get a fair bit of closure. They get to say their piece, see the person’s reaction. Maybe if they are wondering why (the offence happened) they could have the opportunity to get those answers that they will not have in court … it’s a chance to have that dialogue in a safe, facilitated process,” she said.

Two experienced mediators are designing a program specifically for Belo and Polapady, Axford said. She hopes the centre will be able to take on more minor criminal matters in the future.

Read the whole article.

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