(Morley Googoo, centre, at the meeting between Members of Parliament and Nova Scotia Chiefs in Wolfville, Nova Scotia Wednesday. Photo: Trina Roache/APTN)
APTN National News
Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for Nova Scotia Morley Googoo apologized and is headed to the restorative justice program after being charged with assault and disturbing the peace.
The charges stem from an incident at the Hampton Inn in the Mi’kmaw community of Membertou, Nova Scotia in June.
That’s where Googoo got into a fight with a security guard at the hotel.
“I regret it. I’m taking responsibility for it,” Googoo said in a phone interview with APTN National News.
“I’m just dealing with that the best way I can. Very apologetic for it and moving forward.”
Googoo appeared in provincial court on Tuesday and has been referred to the restorative justice program.
It can include talking circles and face to face meetings between the people involved. The goal is reconciliation and healing, as opposed to punitive measures for the offender.
“I’ll deal with the rest of it through the restorative justice program that’s available to all our indigenous people,” he said.
Googoo is a former chief of Waycobah, NS. In March, he was re-elected as AFN regional chief for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
That term lasts until 2020 and Googoo said he has no plans to resign.
“No. I’ve had a talk with my chiefs. That’s the main thing I have to explain to and make sure they have the facts and I have their full support,” he said.
Googoo is an organizer for Grand-Pré 2017, a four day festival in Nova Scotia this weekend. it will celebrate Mi’kmaq and Acadian connections and is expected to draw thousands.
Charges against Googoo are still on the books.
According to the justice department in Nova Scotia, only certain types of offences can be considered for the restorative justice program.
Generally, assaults, other than serious aggravated assaults, can be referred to restorative justice pre-conviction.
And the program can be utilized by a referral by a police officer before a charge is laid, referral by Crown attorney after a charge is laid, by a judge after a conviction and before a sentence is imposed, or by the staff of Correctional Services or Victim Services after a sentence has been imposed.
Googoo will appear back in court on October 30 and the judge will review how the restorative justice program went.
The charges can be dropped for offenders who successfully complete the program.
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