May 30th, 2024

Shelter assault and threats result in probation

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 11, 2021.


A 21-year-old man who repeatedly assaulted and threatened emergency shelter employees has been placed on probation for six months and ordered to take treatment and counselling.
On June 8 of last year Leland Bastien became involved in an altercation with a another man at the shelter, and in an effort to end the altercation two employees intervened and were assaulted. Bastien also struck a shelter employee on March 27 of this year when staff attempted to remove him from the facility, and the previous January, despite being ordered by the court to not attend the shelter, Bastien went to the shelter, swore at employees and threatened them.
“He became very aggressive with them and stated ‘I’m going to rape and kill you,’ ” Crown Prosecutor Lisa Weich said during a sentencing hearing Thursday in Lethbridge provincial court.
Employees managed to get him outside on the steps, but he held onto the door and continued to yell and swear at them.
“He was in a very bad state,” Weich said. “He banged his head on the glass until his forehead was bleeding.”
Bastien was at the shelter on three other occasions, as well; once on March 4, 2020 when he stole a cellphone from another person’s jacket while that person went to the bathroom. The theft was captured on video surveillance. He was back at the shelter on Feb. 7 of this year and causing a disturbance by trying to fight other users, and he returned again on May 11 and had to be removed by police after he refused to comply with directions by staff to leave the shelter.
In an incident unrelated to the shelter, Bastien was arrested June 19 of last year after he entered a convenience store downtown and got into an altercation with an employee. The employee locked Bastien inside the store and called police, but Bastien repeatedly punched the plexiglass partition between himself and the employee, causing it to fall from the ceiling and break.
Bastien pleaded guilty to charges of assault, threats to cause death or bodily harm, mischief causing damage, theft under $5,000, and failure to comply with release conditions. He was sentenced to one day in jail on each charge of failing to comply, mischief causing damage and theft, but on the three assault charges and threats charge he was placed on six months probation with conditions to abstain from alcohol and drugs, reside at an approved residence, not possess any weapons, and attend for assessment and treatment as recommended.
Weich pointed out Bastien has some mental health issues but he has been addressing them for the past several months and is doing better.
Calgary lawyer John Oman told court his client suffers from schizophrenia and lives at the Southern Alberta Self Help Association facility and receives support from the facility, as well as psychiatric counseling. And although he was experiencing problems previously, he has improved and is doing “one thousand times better” and receiving the treatment he needs, Oman said.


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