Assault charge withdrawn in provincial court
Labrador man given absolute discharge in court related to a possession charge.
The relief was evident on his face as Andrew Abbass walked out of the Corner Brook courthouse on Aug. 16.
Within the span of 45 minutes the Labrador man had been granted an absolute discharge in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador and had another charge dismissed in the provincial court.
Abbass’s trouble with the legal system started back in April 2015 while living in Corner Brook. On April 7 comments he made on Twitter about the shooting death of Donald Dunphy sparked a visit by police and a detention at the psychiatric unit at Western Memorial Regional Hospital under the province’s Mental Health Care and Treatment Act.
While in hospital police raided his home and found marijuana plants that he admits to growing for personal medical usage.
Abbass and his partner at the time, Iulia Sivolap, were charged with unlawfully producing marijuana and unlawfully possessing marijuana under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
The charges were laid in May 2015 and later moved from the provincial court to the Supreme Court.
On Aug. 15 Abbass entered a guilty plea to the possession charge and the matter was set to the next day for sentencing. During the sentencing hearing Justice Brian Furey said he accepted Abbass’s guilty plea and was satisfied that he gave it voluntarily.
Federal Crown attorney David Mills had sought a conditional discharge and probation for six months, while Abbass had asked for an absolute discharge.
Furey noted that Abbass doesn’t have a criminal record, intended to move back to Labrador to work and now has a licence to obtain medical marijuana.
Furey said the offence committed by Abbass is what he would term not of a significant nature in the types of offences that come before the court and he was satisfied the imposition of a discharge was in Abbass’s best interest.
Furey did grant a Crown request for forfeiture of the items seized by police, which Abbass agreed to.
The production charge against Abbass and both charges against Sivolap, who was not present, were withdrawn.
After leaving Supreme Court, Abbass went downstairs to provincial court where Mills withdrew a charge of assaulting a police officer alleged to have occurred on May 19, 2015.
While the criminal charges against him have been dealt with, Abbass is still awaiting a ruling by Furey on a habeas corpus hearing over his claim that his detention in the hospital was unlawful.
In April 2015, lawyers with legal aid’s mental health office argued before Justice David Hurley that Abbass was being held unlawfully and the court should hear the arguments for his release. Hurley dismissed the request and Abbass later appealed his decision.
In April of this year, the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal ruled Abbass’s case should have been heard in court. Furey heard the matter on July 7.
Andrew Abbass was in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook on August 16.