May 17th, 2024

Judge gives youthful offender a break


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on April 18, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 20-year-old Lethbridge man facing seven months in jail for his first criminal conviction as an adult, was given a break from a judge, although not as much as he hoped.

Patrick Joseph Moore had asked for a sentence of two months in jail after he pleaded guilty Tuesday in Lethbridge court of justice to one count of criminal harassment against a former girlfriend, as well as two charges of assault and a single count of assaulting a peace officer.

After some contemplation, Justice Grace Auger compromised and sentenced Moore to three months in jail, plus one year of probation.

“This is a hard one,” Auger admitted. “I’m struggling because I know you have no criminal record as an adult. But what I’m struggling with is your ex-girlfriend, about how much trauma all the calls and all the texting caused her. It caused her a great amount of fear and trauma.”

Crown Prosecutor Clayton Giles, who had recommended the longer jail sentence, told court Moore had through text messages between Aug. 24 and Sept. 10, 2023, emotionally and verbally abused his ex-girlfriend and would not leave her alone. Moore repeatedly contacted the woman despite her pleadings for him to stop, and warnings by the police.

“In fact, he was even picked up and released on a release order and nonetheless continued to persist, despite the fact he had conditions which required that he not have any contact directly or indirectly (with the woman),” Giles said.

In a victim impact statement, the woman described the impact of Moore’s repeated, denigrating harassment, and said she suffered for months from anxiety and paranoia.

“I haven’t felt safe leaving my house to go anywhere,” she wrote. “I stopped using my phone to escape the constant abuse, which led to the loss of a good portion of the only people I have in my life.

“I’m extremely burnt out and I’m experiencing several issues with physical well-being, like extreme fatigue, anorexia, insomnia, marijuana use, as well as crippling anxiety attacks anytime he messages me or something happens that triggers flashbacks of how he treats and treated me.”

The victim also wrote she fears Moore because of his close connection to people who attacked and abused her, and tried to involve her in sex trafficking. She’s also afraid she’ll be killed.

“His presence downtown makes me fear constantly that I’ll be shot dead by someone he sends after me.”

The assault charges stem from separate incidents, the first on Jan. 30 of this year involving a tenant in an apartment building in which Moore also lived. The two men became embroiled in an argument before Moore began repeatedly kicking and hitting the other man, inflicting numerous facial injuries.

Then on March 14 a cab driver picked up Moore and two other intoxicated individuals from a residence and requested they pay in advance. However, he feared they would cause trouble because of their level of intoxication and refused to transport them and refunded their fare.

Moore was upset, however, opened the driver’s door and attempted to pull the driver from the vehicle. The driver, who was still secured by the seatbelt, told police afterward that Moore threw at least 20 punches at his face, head and shoulder before he was able to get out of the car and push “the skinny kid” away and get back in the car.

Police found Moore in an alley but he ran away and had to be taken to the ground, where he attempted to strike the officer and bite him on the arm before he was subdued.

“The last belligerent act of Mr. Moore at that point in time was to say (to the officer), ‘I know what you look like you bald (expletive), I’m going to kill you,” Giles said.

Lethbridge lawyer Darcy Shurtz opposed the Crown’s recommendation for seven months in custody, and said it is too high for a young offender without a criminal record. He agreed the offences warrant time in jail, but he suggested a sentence of two months, and said rehabilitation of the young offender should be a paramount consideration in sentencing.

Shurtz explained Moore suffers from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and his mother was an abusive alcoholic while he was growing up. He began “struggling with alcohol” when he was only 14 years old, but he’s never received counselling for his addiction.

“I believe rehabilitation is a likelihood for him if he can get some help for his alcohol.”

Moore, who attended court by CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, occasionally wiped tears from his face and told the judge his criminal actions are a direct result of his drinking.

“I honestly think that if it wasn’t for drinking, I wouldn’t be here at all or have any charges,” Moore said. “I’d be at home with my kiddies and be OK.”

Auger also expressed concern about Moore’s addiction, and urged him to seek help.

“I agree drinking is wrecking your life,” Auger said.

Although sentenced to 90 days in jail, Moore was given credit for the equivalent of 51 days spent in pre-trial custody, which leaves 39 days to serve. While on probation, he must adhere to several conditions, including he be assessed and receive counselling for domestic violence and alcohol abuse.

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Dennis Bremner

The headline caught my eye, more than the “case”. I purposely have not read the article. I am making comment on the headline.
“Judge gives youthful offender a break”
As an outsider, looking in, and not in contact with all the facts of any case, the overall feeling of the judicial system in Lethbridge is actually the headline of this article.
Everyday we see people associated with much much higher level of criminal behaviour getting a “slap on the wrist” to a “severe slap on the wrist”!
Perhaps, just perhaps one day we may see a headline like “Judge sentences to 20 years, Judge enforces the law exerts maximum punishment with no leniency.
This would compensate for what people see as Catch and Release program orchestrated against the Residents and LAPS !
It would also make the Lethbridge Police feel like they are actually doing their job, if people “got what they deserved”! It would seem to me LAPS would be under the impression, (wrongly), that they are just picking up innocent people, or at best marginally out of line, when they see the results!
The public sits back and hypothesizing that only way a criminal gets any jail time here, is if he is being video taped in the act of sexually assaulting an underage girl, while holding 20 tonnes of Cocaine in one hand, and the keys to 50 containers of stolen cars in the other!
But, I am sure, and I really mean this, The video would not be allowed to be entered into evidence because the lawyers negotiated with each other and determined it would be “detrimental to their client” or was “against his human rights” ! After all, he had a bad childhood?
When you have a system that negotiates a plea for sexual assault or trafficing of a minor, or “he’s only robbed 27 times, and he had a bad childhood, its time to say STOP! People get annoyed to see this repeating Headline!
The perception is, why have “lawyers who were accelerated to the level of judge who cannot, or will not, use the powers of the law then negotiate between two other lawyers and “appear” to offer leniency, 100% of the time?
If the declaration is Lethbridge is the 2nd most burgled city in Canada, and it is. Why do we see the same Burglary artists, being released over and over again? Did we get a bad group of judiciary here?

At what point do we as a society realize that being sentenced to jail, where he can get all the drugs he needs, get 3 square meals a day, has a warm bed, TV, counselling, medical care is better than what we offer the homeless?
What is the ONLY deterrent in a sentence? Loss of freedom, thats it, what do we do, never make sure thats what happens! 3 months in Jail is a nice break in the winter! Where is common sense in all this, I see none, absolutely NONE! When did “common sense, leave the building, was it with Elvis”?
Ask yourself this-
1) If we are accelerating to the top of the bad lists, that is not a good thing, hopefully we agree.
2) If the same people/group that are perpetuating the crimes are the same people that got us to the top of the list, and they are “free”, as we speak, WHY!!!!
3) Why is the province not exerting common sense here? Why do they assume another Police Force will make it better?
Do we need more jails? Do we need more prisons? Do we need people to actually do their job…. so we do not set another record?
I suppose I will be dismissed for my comments by those who are treated as royalty among us! Perhaps commenting on the Judiciary in Lethbridge is so sancro-sanct that I will be quickly and quietly smited? I guess we will see, perception of catch and release has been plaquing Lethbridge for years, its not something, I just thought up this morning while putting in my false teeth, strapping on my “depends” and taking my daily dose of Anti-Crazy Pills”!
https://www.mylethbridgenow.com/38680/news/study-finds-lethbridge-second-most-burgled-city-in-canada/
Police Chief has to say, its getting better everytime he is interviewed, and I am sure from his viewpoint it is. LAPS is doing their job but there is a hole in the bottom of the bucket they are filling. MY OPINION ONLY!
Again, I have not even read the content of this article because I wanted to comment on the headline only!

Last edited 29 days ago by Dennis Bremner
buckwheat

From the next article. Man chokes girlfriend.

judge noted Odong is from Sudan where his father died and where, from a young age, he was exposed to difficult circumstances. Judge also pointed out Odong suffers from substance abuse, but has been sober “for a significant period of time” and is attempting to address some mental health issues.

biff

indeed, craft a narrative and use it as a get off easy card.

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biff

dennis and buck each bring up points to consider. in this case, somehow the judge gets derailed into focusing on a singular “first” offence; however, there is in fact a list of offences – violent offences. people were threatened, including a cop, a female continuously harrassed and threatened and also beaten and choked, and the poor “youthful” guy pummels away despite legal “interventions.”
thus, it seems the judge looks at this as though the “youthful” guy had a bad one-off, where truer to fact he has been consistently violent, threatening, and a significant public safety issue.
so, once again, victims, deterrence, and the safety of the public are hardly parts of the consideration when it comes to sentencing.
why is it violent offenders, and those that present a notable risk to the safety of others, so very often receive little more than a cuddling of a sentence?

JimO

It is getting scary when I agree with biff.



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