By Delon Shurtz on December 19, 2020.
A 28-year-old man was so high on drugs last October, he doesn’t remember exposing himself to a Lethbridge Crown prosecutor.
That didn’t save Mark Brandon Vielle from a jail sentence, however, and he was sentenced to 90 days in custody after he pleaded guilty Friday in Lethbridge provincial court to one count of committing an indecent act in public.
Court was told the Crown prosecutor was standing in the hallway on the 11th floor of the Melcor Centre office tower downtown when she noticed Vielle standing near the Legal Aid office. She asked Vielle, who was swaying and appeared intoxicated, if he had an appointment with Legal Aid. Instead of answering, he stepped toward her and said, “it’s just me and you here.”
Vielle pulled down his pants, exposing his genitals, and began to masturbate as he walked toward the woman.
“I’m not going to rape you, I’m just going to show you my c_ _ _,” he told her.
She unlocked her office door in the event she needed to escape, and repeatedly told Vielle to pull up his pants. He eventually entered the elevator and left, but not before the prosecutor took photos of the suspect.
Police found Vielle downtown the following day. The intoxicated man, who was wearing the same clothes he wore the previous day, swore at police as they arrested him.
The incident at the office tower did not have a lasting impact on the woman, and she was not harmed, but it was disturbing and frightening, court was told.
Lethbridge lawyer Miranda Hlady said her client had a difficult childhood and suffers from substance abuse. He may also have fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which makes it difficult for him to distinguish right from wrong. Hlady noted Vielle’s parents were only teenagers when he was born, and suffered from their own substance-abuse issues. His grandmother died when he was 14, and his mother died five years later.
Despite his difficulties, Hlady said Vielle has been doing better, but he gets in trouble when he is downtown and around negative influences.
Vielle told court he believes he was suffering from a psychological and mental breakdown at the time of the incident, and was shocked when he was told what he did.
“I don’t even remember doing that,” he said.
Judge Bruce Fraser agreed with a Calgary Crown prosecutor’s recommendation for a 90-day sentence, but said had it not been for Vielle’s guilty plea, he might have sentenced him to a longer period of custody.
Vielle was given credit for the equivalent of 74 days he spent in pre-trial custody following his arrest, leaving 16 days on his sentence. He will remain in custody on other matters, however, and returns to court Jan. 8 to address additional charges, including threats to cause death or bodily harm and assault with a weapon.
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