For assaulting two peace officers in Fort Providence, Richard Lesage was sentenced to spend four months in jail.

The June 11 sentencing hearing follows last month’s trial examining whether or not the tactics used to control the violent offender constituted a breach of Charter rights.

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Responding to a call for service on Oct. 29, 2019, Fort Providence RCMP found Lessage couched behind a shack. Lesage, 24, was noted as being intoxicated and became violent when police told him to come to the police car. A struggle ensued and one officer grabbed Lessage’s genitals to subdue him.

Lesage screamed but didn’t stop fighting. RCMP eventually used pepper spray to gain control.

Defence lawyer Peter Harte argued the tactic was violating and unreasonable. He said the act constituted sexual assault and that the charges should be stayed as a result.

Judge Garth Malakoe ruled that the sole purpose for the genital grab was protection and compliance. He noted the dangers of police work and that the officer was protecting himself and his colleague from bodily harm.

Breach of probation

Lessage was sentenced to two months on each count of assault to be served consecutively. He was also sentenced to one month for resisting arrest, and 30 days for breaching two separate probation orders at the time of the arrest. That time, Malakoe said, would be served concurrent to Lesage’s four months.

Malakoe told Lesage he was lucky he didn’t sustain greater injuries as a result of what he did to the officers.

He will serve 12 months of probation at the end of his jail term.

Natalie Pressman

Reporting courts and cops and general news, Natalie started with NNSL Media in 2020. Before moving to Yellowknife, Natalie worked as a community radio trainer in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First...

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