St. Stephen's Community House participants

Naveen Polapady

Naveen PolapadyNaveen Polapady

Saving the Spiceman

Most cases that run through our Community Mediation service help participants avoid the court system. But once in a while, the mediation occurs after guilt has been decided in the court. The Spiceman case was one.

Nicknamed ‘The Spiceman’ in the media, restaurateur Naveen Polapady was sentenced for assaulting, and throwing spices at, Manuel Belo, who he believed was a thief. Before the sentencing, they participated in a specially-designed mediation program, as referred by Ontario Court Justice Peter Harris. The emotional and legal benefits were clear: Naveen better understood his actions and their consequences, and received a lighter sentence; and Manuel had the chance to express the harm done to him and gain closure. Benefits were evident for the courts as well. Judge Harris had more information to aid him in sentencing, while the justice system itself saves valuable time and money by referring cases for mediation.

Judge Harris was happy with the result. “It was a very successful outcome for both the victim and offender. I hope to see St. Stephen’s play a larger role in community-based dispute resolution.”

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