Un­easy in court

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - BY DIANE CROCKER [email protected]­ern­star.com Twit­ter: WS_DianeCrock­er

The lat­est court ap­pear­ance for Colin Wheeler was any­thing but cor­dial.

Be­fore Jus­tice Ge­orge Mur­phy took the bench in the Supreme Court of New­found­land and Labrador in Cor­ner Brook on Fri­day af­ter­noon it was clear the mat­ter be­fore him was not go­ing to go smoothly.

As Colin Wheeler sat in a room at Her Majesty’s Pen­i­ten­tiary in St. John’s, con­nected to the Cor­ner Brook court­room by video con­fer­ence, he made ob­scene and threat­en­ing com­ments.

He called out the word “rats” sev­eral times, Crown pros­e­cu­tor Lori St. Croix’s name and made threats. He also made gnash­ing sounds with his teeth.

Wheeler was sup­posed to ap­pear for his sen­tenc­ing hear­ing on charges, in­clud­ing as­sault with a weapon, that stemmed from a dis­tur­bance at a home in Benoit’s Cove last Oc­to­ber.

Wheeler con­tin­ued to make com­ments as Mur­phy took the bench and the court clerk at­tempted to read the file num­ber into record.

Mur­phy asked Wheeler if he was go­ing to con­trol him­self and he replied: “I’m con­trolled.”

As Mur­phy at­tempted to speak to St. Croix, Wheeler once again spoke up and said “guilty.”

Mur­phy said he was not go­ing to pro­ceed with the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing with the way Wheeler was act­ing and St. Croix asked to have the mat­ter resched­uled.

At that point Wheeler asked the judge how a mem­ber of his fam­ily was do­ing.

As Mur­phy at­tempted to con­tinue the ap­pear­ance he in­di­cated that the pre­sen­tence re­port that he had re­quested had not been com­pleted.

Wheeler gnashed his teeth again and re­peated St. Croix’s name.

When Mur­phy asked if was go­ing to be­have him­self, Wheeler agreed.

Mur­phy went on to say the re­port could not be com­pleted be­cause Wheeler may have been in hos­pi­tal.

Wheeler said he didn’t know what the judge was talk­ing about.

Wheeler said he was sen­tenced to four years in jail for a pre­vi­ous as­sault with a con­vic­tion and ques­tioned why the judge just didn’t do the same. “And get it done and over with.”

Mur­phy tried to ex­plain that’s not how it works and said he was ad­journ­ing the hear­ing and hoped Wheeler would co­op­er­ate with the prepa­ra­tion of the pre­sen­tence re­port. “I won’t,” said Wheeler.

A few min­utes later Wheeler said he didn’t mean any dis­re­spect with the com­ment about the judge’s fam­ily mem­ber and that he was just try­ing to get hit with a heftier sen­tence.

“I’ll take five years right now,” he said.

“I’m not sen­tenc­ing you in the state that you’re in to­day. I’m look­ing for a new date to do this on and that’s what’s hap­pen­ing to­day,” Mur­phy told him be­fore set­ting the hear­ing for Oct. 16. Wheeler in­di­cated he wants to ap­pear in per­son at that time.

Fri­day’s ap­pear­ance lasted just over 12 min­utes.

Mean­while, Wheeler has racked up nine other charges since he’s been at the pen­i­ten­tiary and will go to trial on the ma­jor­ity of them in St. John’s in Novem­ber.

THE WESTERN STAR FILE PHOTO

Colin Wheeler was unco-op­er­a­tive dur­ing his sen­tenc­ing hear­ing in the Supreme Court of New­found­land and Labrador in Cor­ner Brook on Fri­day. The hear­ing has been resched­uled to Oct. 16.

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