A man with severe fetal alcohol spectrum disorder was sentenced to 30 months in prison for crimes that included pointing a firearm at a woman’s head in Inuvik.
At Inuvik Territorial Court Aug. 3 the man, who will not be identified because of his mental health issues, pleaded guilty to one count of pointing a firearm at another person, one count of criminal harassment, one count of breach of recognizance and one count of possessing a weapon while prohibited from doing so. Deputy Judge Brian Neal accepted a joint proposal from both the crown and defence and sentenced him to 30 months in prison, minus 249 days credit for time served. He also placed the man under a 10 year firearms prohibition and ordered him on two years probation following his sentence.
“I just want to say sorry to the officers,” said the man in his defence. “I also want to say sorry to [the victim]; I’ve still got some work to do on myself.
“I’m sorry for what I caused to the community.”
Crown prosecutor Morgan Fane told court the man was under a recognizance on Feb. 19 when he was visiting his mother with several people, including the victim whom he was ordered to not be in the presence of.
At approximately 10 p.m., others in the place left, leaving the man and the victim alone. The victim told the man she wanted to leave. The man, who was highly intoxicated at the time, picked up a fire arm and pointed it directly at the woman’s head and told her “nobody is leaving here.”
Fane added the barrel of the firearm was nearly touching the victim’s forehead.
However, another family member came by before things escalated further. The man then left for the bar, which he was also bound by conditions to not visit. Before he left, he told the victim to stay put, saying if she left he would “find her and shoot her.”
The victim called police, who arrived shortly afterwards. While police were speaking to the victim, the man returned and was promptly arrested. During the arrest the man threatened both police officers, telling one that he would “find them when sober and stab them.” The man also told the police he “knew where they lived” and he would “hunt for them.”
During the sentencing, a victim impact statement from the woman was read aloud in court to the man, who was sitting in the prisoner’s box.
“He has <expletive> my head up and made me more traumatized by guns,” read the letter, which added the victim was terrified the man might be released. “I am always on alert. I still get nightmares and flashbacks of when he pointed a loaded firearm at me.
“I forgive for what he has done, but I will not forget.”
Defence lawyer Peter Harte told court the man had extreme FASD which had not been addressed in spite of a report recommending the man needed constant supervision. He noted the report determined the man’s cognitive abilities to be at a six-year-old’s level, was functionally illiterate and not able to make his own deliberate decisions. He added the man did not understand concepts such as directions, could not count and have both a severe language delay and memory deficit.
The man also grew up in a violent household, experiencing routine binge drinking by his parents. At one point the man was witness to his mother stabbing his father. Harte also noted when the courts were preparing a pre-sentence report for an earlier conviction in 2017, many members of his family who had made appointments to give interviews about his upbringing and history did not show up.
“He has a 10-second response in a two-second world,” said Harte. “He is an individual who has severe issues moving forward.”
Accepting the man’s apology and the joint statement, Neal waived the victim fine surcharge.
“The reports were hauntingly accurate identifying risks of non-treatment,” he said. “The defendant has made a profound and sincere apology.
“I sincerely wish you good luck.”