Father sentenced to 23 months in child abuse case
A young man was alone last Tuesday as he approached his lawyer in the parking lot of the Harbour Grace Courthouse. He left the courthouse less than an hour later in handcuffs.
The man — who cannot be identified in order to protect the identities of his victims — was sentenced to 23 months in prison last week for his role in a high profile child abuse case that has disturbed many in Newfoundland and Labrador.
His wife has 11-and-a-half years remaining on her own sentence for her role in the matter. She was convicted on 20 charges involving forcible confinement, corrupting the morals of children and willfully contributing to a child being in need of protective intervention.
The 35-year-old man was convicted on seven counts of forcible confinement and one count of willfully contributing to a child being in need of protective intervention.
To keep his children inside their rooms, rope was used to tie door handles to the bannister. Some children pleaded to be let out and ultimately soiled their clothes.
He also pleaded guilty to breaching a recognizance by having contact with the woman despite the fact a court order prohibited him from doing so. After police arrested him, he admitted to living with her for several weeks.
Judge Jacqueline Brazil said the facts of the case were horrific, and noted his family had a long history with Child, Youth and Family Services before the children were ultimately removed from the couple’s care.
However, she also highlighted the fact his role in the poor treatment of the children was not as significant as his now-estranged wife.
Brazil noted the man feared his wife and was in some respects one of her victims. She also noted that in victim impact statements, some of the children expressed unique feelings about their father in comparison to the mother. He also has no prior criminal record. Brazil suggests he will be a good candidate for rehabilitation.
Brazil’s initial sentence totaled 35 months. However, in considering totality, she felt a lesser sentence was more appropriate. Brazil elected to have a one-year sentence for two of the unlawful confinement charges run concurrent instead of consecutive to sentences handed down on other charges. He is receiving 15 days credit for time served following his two arrests.
The man is also subject to a three-year probation order upon his release and can have no contact with his children or his estranged wife.
The Crown was seeking a sentence of at least two-and-a-half years, while the man’s defence attorney had request a nine-month sentence.