Fa­ther sentenced to 23 months in child abuse case

The Compass - - OPINION - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.

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