Woman left terrorized
Sudbury man repeatedly attacked ex-girlfriend; he gets nine months
An Ontario Court Justice judge issued a stern warning Friday to a man who repeatedly assaulted his ex-girlfriend in 2017, including at a bus stop and in her apartment.
“I don’t think I have ever seen a case of domestic violence of this repeated nature,” Justice John Keast told Nicholas Graham, 21, as he issued a nine-month jail term. “I have seen lots and lots of other people in their 20s or 40s, but we don’t see repeated incidents at the age of 20.
“You have some real serious issues to address and they go far beyond your opioid addiction. You are to be complimented for being on the methadone program, but you have a serious anger problem and a power force and control problem in domestic relationships ... This is the kind of case where we go forward five years down the line and somebody kills somebody, and we take a look at the history and we are not surprised.
“The message is you have a Mount Everest to climb here to deal with the decisions that led you to this kind of trouble. This woman has had her life destroyed. My instinct tells me you don’t realize how serious (your behaviour) is.”
“I do,” said Graham, standing in the prisoner’s box.
“If you come back for any kind of domestic violence, you are going to go to jail for a very long time,” Keast warned.
Graham, who was facing 37 charges, pleaded guilty to 11 of them. They included breaches of probation and recognizance, two counts of mischief under $5,000, one count of driving while suspended, and two counts of assault on the ex-girlfriend dating back to Sept. 13, 2017.
As Graham had been in custody for 93 days, he received pre-custody credit of 141 days. That leaves him with 129 days or just over four months left to serve.
Keast also issued a 10-year weapons ban and a DNA order.
Assistant Crown attorney Katherine Spensieri and defence lawyer Michael Haraschuk suggested the sentence.
Keast, however, rejected a suggested 18-month probation order and instead imposed a three-year order out of concern for Graham’s ex-girlfriend.
“It’s to protect her, but it can be non-reporting if programming is completed,” said the judge. “It’s to give incentive.”
The court heard Graham had been in an on-again, off-again relationship with a Capreol woman that ended for good in July 2017. At that time, he was a prohibited driver and on two probation orders.
On Sept. 13, 2017, the ex-girlfriend was attending Cambrian College when she told college officials Graham struck her in the head when he confronted her in a hallway.
On Sept. 25, the woman contacted Greater Sudbury Police indicating that Graham was at her apartment door and attempting to get in. Officers who investigated could not find Graham and also checked the Hanmer residence where he was supposed to be residing according to a court order, but he was not there.
A warrant was issued for Graham’s arrest.
On Sept. 26, Greater Sudbury Police officers checking out a report of a disturbance at a bus shelter in Capreol about 7:30 a.m., found several windows in the shelter kicked out. They talked to two witnesses who assisted a woman who had been attacked. Graham had knocked the victim to the ground and pulled her by the hair.
The ex-girlfriend told police Graham said he wanted to talk to her about their relationship, she refused and tried to walk away. Graham then struck her with a closed fist, got her on the ground and began to pull her hair. Graham ran off when other people intervened.
The ex-girlfriend told officers she feared for her safety because Graham had a drug problem and was very violent.
Haraschuk said Graham admits to only grabbing the woman and pushing her down.
On July 27, 2017, Graham pleaded guilty mischief and received a penalty of one-day jail and one year probation. But Graham did not report for probation appointments in the following months and his supervisor lost track of him by early October.
On Nov. 4, 2017, the ex-girlfriend was in her apartment when Graham entered without permission and pinned her to the floor. The woman was able to get away and ran to a neighbour’s residence for help.
Police officers who responded to the incident could not locate Graham and he was also not at the Hanmer home where he was supposed to be staying.
Haraschuk said Graham pushed the woman, causing her to fall to the floor, and grabbed her.
Later that same day, Graham returned to the woman’s home and she again went to a neighbour’s apartment. Graham left, but returned with a golf club, which he used to damage the rear of a parked Toyota Auris belonging to a man.
Graham was arrested on Nov. 13, 2017, in Hanmer. Graham was in an incoherent state and not making sense, so police took him to hospital as a precaution. Graham got bail Nov. 29.
On Aug. 24, 2018, officers spotted Graham driving a Dodge Ram pickup truck on Elgin Street and arrested. At that time, he was on two licence suspensions.
In his sentencing submission, Haraschuk indicated the offences Graham pleaded guilty to primarily occurred in 2017 when he was 20. He said Graham is currently working in the Sudbury Jail kitchen, has been on the methadone program for about six months, is attempting to complete his Grade 12 diploma and was a valued employee of a contracting company when he was arrested in late August while driving a company vehicle.
Haraaschuk said Graham has anger issues and taken an anger management program through his doctor, and had been dealing with a “fairly significant” opioid addiction for three years.
Spensieri said that while the guilty pleas spared the ex-girlfriend from having to testify and Graham is young, his criminal record, which dates back to 2011, now features three assault and seven mischief convictions, and the new assaults occurred in both public and private settings.
Spensieri said the ex-girlfriend, through her victim impact statement, indicates she suffers ongoing panic attacks and “fears he will kill her.”
“I’m truly sorry for what I have done and truly sorry and try sorry for everything to (the ex-girlfriend),” Graham told the court.