Crown takes Labrador judge to court

Pros­e­cu­tion wants more strin­gent con­di­tions placed on man it con­sid­ers dan­ger to pub­lic

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - LOCAL - BY ROSIE MULLALEY rmul­la­[email protected]­gram.com Twit­ter: @Te­lyCourt

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.

— Tele­gram file photo

Judge John Joy.

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