ANTIGONISH: A local business owner said she supports the province’s restorative justice program.
“I think it’s a very wholesome approach if the right people are involved,” said Meghan Peters, co-owner of the Tall and Small Café. “I definitely, after going through it, feel closure and some healing on my part for sure.”
On December 2 of last year, Antigonish County District RCMP received a report of a break, enter and theft at the Tall and Small Cafe on Main Street in Antigonish. A provincial media release stated the preliminary investigation determined that at approximately 3 a.m. on Saturday, November 28, a person or persons forced their way into the cafe and stole a significant quantity of cash.
Police later charged Carolyn Stewart with break, enter and theft.
Peters recently met with Stewart as a part of the restorative justice program after making an application, noting it was only available as a pilot program in other areas. Peters said she previously didn’t know anything about Stewart or why Stewart did what she did.
“If we had gone the traditional route, I wouldn’t have had any of these answers,” said Peters.
“I was able to get all of those answers. It was definitely good for my mental health.”
On November 21, the Nova Scotia Department of Justice announced the province-wide expansion of the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program to adults.
“Restorative justice has proven to be a good option for communities, victims and offenders,” stated Justice Minister Diana Whalen.
“That’s why we’re expanding the program and offering it across the province. Restorative justice requires offenders to take responsibility for their actions and holds them accountable to the community and their victims. This helps victims and their families get the closure and support they need to heal.”
As for Peters and Stewart, they are working together on a free community dinner on December 4.
“It’s to say ‘thank you’ to the community for their support and the love they’ve shown us over the last year throughout this whole process,” Peters added.