Ex-Roughrider who as­saulted girl­friend gets a year in jail

Edmonton Journal - - CITY - HEATHER POLISCHUK hpolis­[email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/LPHeatherP

Once lauded as a tal­ented up-and-comer on the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers’ roster, Justin Cox’s as­saultive ac­tions not only cost him his foot­ball ca­reer, they have now re­sulted in a jail sen­tence.

Last month, Regina pro­vin­cial court Judge Leslie Hal­l­i­day heard sen­tenc­ing sub­mis­sions from Crown and de­fence coun­sel af­ter the for­mer Riders de­fen­sive back pleaded guilty to two charges: as­sault caus­ing bod­ily harm and a breach re­lated to con­tact­ing the com­plainant.

Hal­l­i­day re­turned on Fri­day with her de­ci­sion, hand­ing 25-year-old Cox a nine-month jail term on the as­sault con­vic­tion and three ad­di­tional months on the breach. Af­ter re­mand credit, he was left with 330 days to serve. An 18-month pro­ba­tion or­der will fol­low.

The as­sault charge pertains to an in­ci­dent on Aug. 30, 2017. Court heard Cox and his then-partner, sus­pect­ing she was preg­nant, went out to buy a test kit. Af­ter mak­ing the pur­chase, the two be­gan ar­gu­ing in the ve­hi­cle. The ar­gu­ment soon turned phys­i­cal, with Cox lash­ing out with a se­ries of blows in what Hal­l­i­day termed a “blind and un­con­trol­lable rage.”

By the time the ve­hi­cle stopped near the lo­ca­tion of the old Mo­saic Sta­dium, the pan­icked, bleed­ing and shoe­less woman had suf­fered a range of in­juries in­clud­ing a badly bro­ken nose. She fled from Cox, seek­ing refuge in­side the ve­hi­cle of a pass­ing Good Sa­mar­i­tan.

Cox chased the woman to the ve­hi­cle, then leaped onto it and strug­gled with the driver for control. The driver was able to get away from Cox and drove the woman to hos­pi­tal.

Court heard the woman, in a bid to avoid Cox, moved to an­other prov­ince. But Cox didn’t stop there, con­tact­ing both the woman and her fa­ther in an at­tempt to dis­suade her from tes­ti­fy­ing against him at trial. Hal­l­i­day said Cox called the woman a “hater” and a “snitch” and stated he’d “left his mark on her for the next man.”

The woman did re­turn to Regina, her baby with her, with the in­ten­tion of tes­ti­fy­ing. In­stead, Cox pleaded guilty.

This sen­tence doesn’t end Cox’s le­gal trou­bles. Al­though he was found not guilty of a pre­vi­ous do­mes­tic as­sault al­le­ga­tion, and the Crown stayed an un­re­lated firearms charge, Cox con­tin­ues to face an­other do­mes­tic as­sault charge, un­re­lated to the one from Fri­day’s sen­tenc­ing.

Com­pound­ing problems for Cox is the fact his em­ploy­ment sit­u­a­tion means he is look­ing at de­por­ta­tion to his na­tive United States once his le­gal is­sues here are re­solved. Court heard he is fac­ing se­ri­ous charges — bur­glary, ag­gra­vated as­sault and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence — in his home state of Mis­sis­sippi. He al­ready has a con­vic­tion from the U.S., a tres­pass­ing of­fence which is also re­lated to a do­mes­tic sit­u­a­tion.

While Hal­l­i­day noted Cox is in­ter­ested in pur­su­ing coach­ing or train­ing down the road, she added his fu­ture doesn’t ap­pear as bright as it once did.

Cox was re­leased from the Riders fol­low­ing his ini­tial as­sault charge, the one on which he has since been ac­quit­ted. He was also barred from play­ing any­where in the CFL.

“I have (con­sid­ered) that any plans Mr. Cox may have had for a promis­ing fu­ture in Canada ap­pear at this time to be for­ever cur­tailed,” Hal­l­i­day said. “Given all the sur­round­ing cir­cum­stances, his fu­ture in the United States also ap­pears very per­ilous.”

Justin Cox

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