Strug­gles with dru­gabuse and men­tal health

The Observer (Sarnia) - - FRONT PAGE - NEIL BOWEN nbowen@post­media.com

A man’s as­ser­tion he would not hurt his mother had to be com­pared by a Sar­nia judge to his mother’s fear dur­ing his ax at­tack on her home.

Har­vey Dale Ge­orge, 38, of Lambton County pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty to dam­ag­ing his mother’s prop­erty with the ax but sen­tenc­ing was de­layed un­til Wed­nes­day for a psy­chi­atric as­sess­ment. He was sen­tenced to 174 days in jail.

The psy­chi­a­trist’s as­sess­ment was that Ge­orge un­der­stood the na­ture of his ac­tions at the time of the of­fence, April 30.

Dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing Ge­orge made sev­eral com­ments in­clud­ing his as­ser­tion he would never hurt his mother and he was sorry.

His mother’s vic­tim im­pact state­ment in­di­cated she feared for her safety and fears Ge­orge will re­turn to drug abuse cre­at­ing fur­ther fright­en­ing be­hav­ior.

When Ge­orge was liv­ing with her she felt like a pris­oner in her own home, ac­cord­ing to the mother’s state­ment.

Ge­orge’s com­ments were ac­cepted and re­spected but his mother’s com­ments are also ac­cepted, said Justice Deb­o­rah Austin.

A six-month jail sen­tence was sought by as­sis­tant Crown at­tor­ney Krista Leszczyn­ski cit­ing the psy­chi­a­trist’s as­sess­ment Ge­orge was a high risk for ag­gres­sion against oth­ers.

Ge­orge’s lengthy crim­i­nal record in­clud­ing two as­saults and an as­sault caus­ing bod­ily harm were also cited by Leszczyn­ski.

Time served in pre-sen­tence cus­tody that was the equiv­a­lent of ap­prox­i­mately four months was sought by de­fence lawyer Sarah Dono­hue.

Upon his re­lease Ge­orge would be liv­ing in a group home in Chatham-Kent await­ing ad­mis­sion to a fa­cil­ity in Lambton ded­i­cated to deal­ing with peo­ple with men­tal dis­or­ders.

Ge­orge has a his­tory of drug abuse that com­pli­cates his men­tal con­di­tion and con­trib­utes to his crimes.

Ge­orge was re­cently con­victed of threat­en­ing to kill his pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer on May 5. “Lis­ten­ing to ev­ery­thing I’ve heard, a lit­tle more time in jail is nec­es­sary,” said Austin.

That time can be used for prepa­ra­tion of a good plan for Ge­orge once he is re­leased from jail.

The psy­chi­a­trist’s re­port in­di­cated Ge­orge would need a sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

In ad­di­tion to the jail time Ge­orge will be on pro­ba­tion for three years when he can­not con­tact his mother un­less she gives writ­ten re­vok­able con­sent to his pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer.

“Your mother wants con­tact but only when it is safe,” said Austin. Dur­ing pro­ba­tion Ge­orge must stay away from drugs and weapons while tak­ing coun­sel­ing and liv­ing at a des­ig­nated ad­dress.

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