As observed in the courtroom I have found myself with many mixed emotions on what I have witnessed. These mixed emotions involve the operations of the justice system and how it affects the accused and the victim. It also makes a person wonder how the legal system operates on a basis of repeated domestic violence acts.
I appeared in court to observe a domestic violence hearing. It involved a young individual who has a lot of physical violence patterns and who has repeatedly disobeyed his probation orders. This took place in an individual room, which involved the accused and his lawyer, the judge, the victim and the crown of attorney.
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Previously the accused was under house arrest for many assaults and breaches of his resonance towards the victim. He was not to have any contact with the victim what so ever. The court session had started and the accused person’s lawyer did his best to fight the crown on any of the attempts that they had made to put the accused into jail to finish his conditional sentence in confinement. Which stipulates on the back of the order, if a breach occurs, then confinement can and most likely will take place.
There had been many breaches and many assaults. The victim was the actual person to call the police the night that the accused had breached his conditional sentence. The accused was sitting in a hotel drinking and staring at the victim. The victim had called the police and told them that he had been in the bar and was breaching his conditional sentence. This resulted in the police arresting the accused and then taking him to the community jail. The accused spent the night in jail and then they took him to the remand centre. He then had a bail hearing and was released on a $1000 resonance. The accused had been set free and had to appear back at a later date to encompass a hearing.
The crown of an attorney tried to show the courts that this man was a threat to the victim and was attempting to have the accused finish his conditional sentence in custody. Also to change the probation order to keep the accused from causing the victim fear when the accused was in, or near, a social gathering or building that the victim was present.
The victim was not happy with the order on how it stood. The victim had asked for the order to read that the accused attain from buildings or social gatherings that the victim may be in at the time.
The victim’s argument was that the accused person was stalking her in ways that he could get away with legally and that she wanted more restrictions put on the accused’s probation order.
The accused would stare at her in public places. He sometimes would sit down at the same table as the victim and not say a word to her. He would do anything to annoy the victim. The accused could legally get away with this because of how the order was written.
The crown of attorney informed the judge of this and had also obtained information from probation services. This also indicated that the accused should not have been out in a public setting and knew very well that his conditional sentence (house arrest) was not finished yet.
The accused and his lawyer were trying to argue with the courts and say that they were not aware that his conditional sentence had not been completed. The accused’s lawyer was representing that his client miscalculated the length of time and was trying to present to the judge that it was an innocent act on the accused’s behalf.
At the end of the hearing, the judge did take into consideration the accused’s history. The judge also made comment to the accused that he should know the date of when his conditional sentence was terminated. The judge also made reference that the accused’s probation officer was well aware of the length of time that the conditional sentence was up and that the accused should have been well aware of the time as well.
The accused ended up finishing his conditional sentence in, Milner ridge correctional institute, a low-security division. In regards to the probation order being changed that the accused not attain any social gatherings, or buildings that the victim may be present at was not altered.
The accused lawyer argued the fact that the accused, and the victim, are from the same hometown and that the accused was not aware that the victim was even in the hotel the night that he was arrested for the breach of his conditional sentence. So, the judge felt that the accused didn’t need to have his order changed.
In conclusion to this domestic violence case that I have witnessed, I agree with the judge, doing justice, by confining the accused to finish his conditional sentence in a lock-up facility.
I don’t agree with the decision that the judge had made, and not to change the order, which would allow the accused to reside in any building, or social gathering that the victim is present in. In my opinion, the history of the accused was horrific and that the judge overlooked the key evidence provided by the surrounding services. (Women’s advocacy, probation services, and the RCMP).
I believe that even if the accused and the victim live in the same small town that they will eventually cross each other’s paths. But at the same time the accused is unhealthy mentally and is stocking the victim in tremendous ways that the accused is quit clear on how to get away with legally.
I also believe that the accused should not be legally allowed to be in the same social gatherings or buildings as the victim and in my opinion this is not social control within the community. I feel that this would also eliminate the harassment and would protect the victim from going through any more horrific dealings with the accused.
I believe the history that was presented to the judge should have changed the outcome of the order and that this would cause less harassment to the victim. It would have given the victim some security to know that accused cannot harm her in any way. Also, if the accused did not follow his orders than he would be punished once again until the accused realized that he cannot harass, harm, or annoy, the victim and/or disobey the laws.
Providing that the accused had a long history of breaches and ignorance in following the laws. I feel that the courts should have been a lot more severe with the outcome of the perpetrator’s order.
I do understand within the system that there is only so much that the courts can do with an individual like this. I know that the accused has a right to legal counsel and has a right to his defence. I can accept that. I can also accept the decision making, on behalf of the judge, in regards to the perpetrator finishing his conditional sentence in detention. I also know that there is a lot of repeat offences and there is some help out there for individuals that are repeat offenders if they are willing to obtain the help that they need.
But realistically most of the individuals don’t get much time in detention and don’t get the help that is required for there abusive behaviours. I am angry that, in this scenario, the judge did not grant the order to be changed and that the victim seemed to be victimized again on the outcome of the decision. In my opinion, if the judge would have changed the order then there would be less chance of the executor to re-offend, and if he did, then a stronger action would be taken the next time that the perpetrator proceeded on harassing the victim.
This I feel would have benefited the victim and the accused. The reason I believe this would benefit both parties is that then the victim would feel justice has been served and she would feel safer knowing that, if the accused does victimize her again, he will be punished instantly. For the accused, I feel that he will be scared to go back to prison if he is caught in any way harassing the victim and will know that he can’t get away with the stalking anymore and will stay clear away from the victim.
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