Crown takes Labrador judge to court
Prosecution wants more stringent conditions placed on man it considers danger to public
The Crown wants stricter conditions placed on a Labrador man it contends is a danger to the public.
And it’s taking a provincial court judge to court to do it.
The prosecution has filed an application in Newfoundland Supreme Court to have a decision by Judge John Joy regarding judicial interim release of a Natuashish man overturned.
Earlier this month, Joy, who serves on the bench in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, refused to hold a bail hearing for Albert Penunsi, who is facing an 810.2 court order.
An 810.2 order is a preventative court order requiring a high-risk offender who poses a threat to society to abide by specific conditions. It’s for the purpose of protecting the public.
Since 2008, Penunsi has committed numerous violent offences, including assault, sexual assault, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and aggravated assault. He’s also been convicted on charges of uttering threats, being unlawfully at large and a slew of breaches of court orders.
On Sept. 9, the 27-year-old was convicted of breaching three court orders. He was sentenced to a fourmonth jail term, with nine months’ probation, which included several strict conditions.
On Dec. 1 — four days before Penunsi was due to be released from prison — the prosecution requested a bail hearing for Penunsi regarding the 801.2 order which it sought to have imposed.
However, Joy had indicated that, under the Criminal Code of Canada, he had no jurisdiction to hold a bail hearing for an individual facing an 810.2 order.
The Crown contends Joy’s interpretation of the law is not correct and wants his decision overturned.
When the case was called in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Friday, Joy was represented by St. John’s lawyer David Day. Prosecutor Robert Parsons and Penunsi’s lawyer Jessica Tellez appeared via videolink from court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Day told Justice William Goodridge that Penunsi is already under strict conditions from his probation order.
Goodridge said because the issue involves public safety, there’s a need to expedite the case.
Lawyers agreed to hold a hearing to argue the Crown’s application on Jan. 20.
Meanwhile, Joy is still the subject of a misconduct complaint by the provincial government.
The director of public prosecutions filed the document in March.
The complaint objects to comments Joy made in a memo he sent to the Crown prosecutor's office, the Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission and a few private lawyers.
In the 21-page memo, Joy criticizes the Crown and Legal Aid for such things as not providing enough services and acting unethically.
He also complained about Legal Aid lawyers failing to meet with clients and leaving them to wait too long to discuss their cases.
That case is still pending, as government waits for Joy to file a response.
Judge John Joy.