By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 5, 2023.
A 58-year-Lethbridge man who narrowly avoided jail Monday, may not be so lucky the next time he’s in court, a judge told him.
“You’re really, really close to going to jail,” Justice Gregory Maxwell told Jack Hoof, who pleaded guilty in Lethbridge court of justice to two charges of assault with a weapon, and a single count of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.
Hoof was given a suspended sentence, and placed on probation for 12 months, during which he must behave himself, avoid contact with two complainants and stay away from Park Place Mall. He must also submit a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Data Bank.
At about 4 p.m. on March 17 of last year police responded to a complaint from a liquor store where Hoof was aggressively panhandling as customers entered and exited the store. After the owner asked Hoof to leave, Hoof threw rocks at him, striking him in the legs.
Almost exactly a year later, on March 18 of this year, police responded to another complaint involving the same offender.
Hoof was urinating on the lawn of a residence in the 700 block of 4 Street South, and when the homeowner told him to stop, Hoof threatened him.
“The accused yelled at the complainant that he was going to come back and kill him; that he had a rifle and would come back and kill him,” said Crown Prosecutor Dawn Janecke.
Then on June 3 of this year Hoof, who was intoxicated and had previously been banned from Park Place Mall downtown, was causing a disturbance at the mall and had been detained by security officers. Hoof pushed one of the officers after he was told to leave.
Justice Maxwell hesitantly accepted the Crown and defence recommendation for a suspended sentence and probation, and chastised Hoof for his behaviour.
“I hope that you look back and reflect on your actions. Your behaviour is menacing, and then when you do something, and people try to intervene, your response is either to assault them or to threaten to assault.”
Maxwell also ordered Hoof, as part of his probation, to be assessed and take counselling for substance abuse if deemed appropriate by his probation supervisor.
Additional charges of assault and performing an indecent act in public were withdrawn.
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