A man who spent five days in jail for being caught breaching a court order was given an absolute discharge after it was determined he had been imprisoned far longer than was acceptable for the charges he pleaded guilty to.
On Aug. 25 at Inuvik Territorial Court the man, who will not be named because this was his first offence, was given the discharge after pleading guilty to one count of failure to appear.
Presiding over court by telephone because his robes were lost by the airline, Judge Robert Gorin accepted the case made by the defense.
“The accused has not accumulated any further charges and has quit drinking,” said Gorin. “He’s paid his punishment.”
Crown prosecutor Madison Walls told court the man was released on conditions to not be in contact with his girlfriend or visit her home in relation to a charge that was later stayed.
However, on Nov. 20, 2020, Inuvik RCMP received a tip the man and his girlfriend were in an argument at her house. Police arrived on scene and found the man hiding in the furnace room. He told police he had gone to the house to drink with his girlfriend. Both parties denied they had been in an argument, though the girlfriend told police he had “arrived unwanted.”
Then, just over a week later on Nov. 28, police received a second complaint related to the house. Upon arrival, police found the man there, still under conditions not to be. He was arrested and put in a cell for five days. During the arrest, the man’s knee was smashed.
Noting the man had no prior criminal record, Walls asked for a conditional discharge with 25 hours of community service.
However, the man’s lawyer, Nicola Langille, noted the man had already spent more time in custody than would be expected for a guilty plea on a first offence of such a nature.
She added the man had grown up in the foster care system, moving between several homes around the country before finally being cut loose at age 16.
Langille added the man had admitted to developing an alcohol addiction, but has quit drinking since the incident, though his knee was still bothering him from the arrest.
“By serving five days in custody, he’s already served a punishment greater than the Crown has asked for,” she said. “The Crown and Courts have already had their pound of flesh.”
Judge Gorin agreed, waiving the victim of crime surcharge and community service requirements.