Crown: C. Jenkins, Assistant Crown Attorney, Toronto
Defence: Craig Penney, Criminal Defence Lawyer, Toronto
¶ 1 THE COURT: You've spoken to Mr Penney about this. You understand that you don't have to plead guilty. You could have a trial in this matter, make the Crown prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, but by pleading guilty you give up that right to a trial. Do you understand that?
¶ 2 CLIENT: Yes, I do.
¶ 3 THE COURT: Okay. Secondly, you must be doing this voluntarily. No one can force you to plead guilty, your choice?
¶ 4 CLIENT: Yes.
¶ 5 THE COURT: And, finally, the lawyers have come to me in a judicial pre-trial. We spoke about the case, and they indicated to me what the proposed resolution was of this case; essentially a joint submission where the lawyers agree upon what the appropriate sentence is. The law requires me to go along with joint submissions unless they happen to be outside a range of appropriate sentences. In this case they spoke to me about it advance, and I felt it was within the appropriate range so you should know that, but always the sentencing is up to the judge. Do you understand that?
¶ 6 CLIENT: I do.
¶ 7 THE COURT: Okay. All right. So C.F. can be arraigned on that one count.
¶ 8 CLERK: C.F., you stand charged on or about the 6th day of December, in the year 2014, at the City of Toronto, in the Toronto Region, did wilfully damage a picture frame, the property of [the complainant], the value of which did not exceed $5,000, and thereby commit mischief, contrary to Section 430(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada. How does the Crown elect to proceed?
¶ 9 CROWN: Summarily.
¶ 10 CLERK: How do you plead to the charge, guilty or not guilty?
¶ 11 CLIENT: Guilty, Your Honour.
¶ 12 CROWN: Yes, Your Honour. There's an agreed statement of facts I'll read into the record and then I'll ask that it be filed. Mr C.F., aged 22, and [the complainant], aged 20, were involved in a romantic relationship from January, 2014. On December 6th, 2014, they were drinking with friends and roommates at her apartment located on the 20th floor of [her residence] in Toronto. This is student housing. They were getting ready to go out to a bar.
¶ 13 C.F. became upset and asked her to stay behind and talk. She told her friends to leave due to his behaviour and they argued. He became very angry. Both went into her bedroom. C.F. then smashed a picture of them together and then broke a window which cost $621.50 to repair. Glass spilled out onto the street causing a tenant to alert security. C.F. had cuts to his knuckles and began to bleed. Glass fell on [the complainant] and she also got some of C.F.'s blood on her face and dress. She left the scene and went to a friend's apartment. She did not speak to the police when she saw them arrive on scene because she was upset and stressed.
¶ 14 C.F. began packing his bags. He became involved in an altercation with an unknown male aggressor at some point causing some further damage to the contents of the apartment and fled the scene running down the stairwell. C.F. grabbed his belongings and took off down the stairs through the fire exit while attending to his injured hand. Security pursued C.F. and stopped him. Security advised C.F. that he must remain on scene and speak with the police who were on their way. He asked security not to call the police, however, they were already en route.
¶ 15 When the police arrived C.F. advised the police that he and [the complainant] were laying in bed when a man knocked on the door and attacked him, punching him, that [the complainant] had taken off and that he hadn't seen her since. He told the police that the window was broken when he took a swing at an intruder, missed and hit the window. He lied because he knew the way he had behaved with [the complainant] was unacceptable and he feared being arrested and detained. The police commenced an investigation. [The complainant] gave a statement on December 8th, 2014, after speaking with her family leading to the present charges now before the court. The unidentified man was not located or identified because [the complainant] advised the police that C.F. was not involved in a fight with anyone other than her. C.F. was arrested on December 10th, 2014.
¶ 16 THE COURT: All right. Those facts then, Mr Penney.
¶ 17 MR PENNEY: Yes, Your Honour. They have been reviewed extensively with C.F. Those facts are admitted as substantially correct.
¶ 18 THE COURT: All right. So that there will be a finding of guilt on the mischief count, and the synopsis that's been read in will be made Exhibit 1 in this matter.
¶ 19 CROWN: Yes, Your Honour. C.F. has a prior entry for a conditional discharge where he received a six-month probation. That will be filed as the next exhibit, please.
¶ 20 THE COURT: That will be Exhibit 2 then. That's admitted then the, the conditional discharge from 2013 then, Mr Penney.
¶ 21 MR PENNEY: Yes.
¶ 22 CROWN: There's also a victim impact statement from [the complainant].
[submissions are then made]
¶ 23 THE COURT: Okay. All right. Okay, C.F., stand up, please. I'm told you'd like to say something publicly to the court, but now is your time to do that, your time so.
¶ 24 CLIENT: Your Honour, I would like to take this opportunity to express my regrets. There's no excuse and no one to blame for the events that unfolded that night except myself. I've taken full ownership and responsibility for my foolish actions of breaking the window and paying for the damage and the window replacement. I deeply regret what I have done, the fright I have caused [the complainant], and I wish I could go back to that night so I can handle my emotions and anger in a more mature manner. My acts that night were embarrassing and shameful and not the person I am or want to be. I have reached out and received professional help and gained knowledge and understanding of why this happened and what caused me to act that way. I never want to find myself in this situation again. I feel I've learned my lesson from my restrictive bail conditions and the time spent in custody, and with my completed counselling sessions and the sessions I intend to continue with, I can assure you this will not happen again. I truly am sorry.
¶ 25 THE COURT: All right, thank you very much, C.F. I don't know, and counsel tell me what you think about this if C.F.'s comments to the, the court can be made an exhibit and maybe passed on to the complainant. That might help her. I'll leave it to the Crown and to the police to, to do that if they think it's something that would be advantageous to the complainant 'cause it might.
¶ 26 CROWN: I have an electronic copy that I was planning on providing to her through Victim Witness, but I...
¶ 27 THE COURT: Okay.
¶ 28 CROWN: ...but I, I'm, I'm content it also be made an exhibit, Your Honour.
¶ 29 THE COURT: Okay. All right. We'll make that Exhibit 5.
¶ 30 THE COURT: All right, do you want to stand up then, C.F. I'll sentence you.
¶ 31 As indicated, this is a joint submission. The lawyers agree it should be a conditional discharge. I'm sure Mr Penney has told you it's not the usual set of circumstances where somebody who has received a conditional discharge in the past gets one a second time. But it's not that it doesn't happen. It just doesn't happen very often. So you're very fortunate to be receiving a conditional discharge today because a criminal record, as Mr Penney no doubt has told you, gets in the way of a lot of things you want to do in your future job, schools, especially. And you're 22 years of age. You've got a whole life ahead of you and that could be severely curtailed by a criminal record.
¶ 32 So I'm of the view that the conditional discharge was appropriate and in these circumstances, because — and many of these things have been talked about already — firstly, you owned up to your behaviour. That's extraordinarily important.
¶ 33 You entered a guilty plea before a trial. The trial would have taken four days or would have been scheduled for four days. There were evidentiary hurdles in these sorts of cases that the prosecution has. There were Charter arguments that could have been and would have been forthcoming. You fore went all of those and stood up to the plate and entered a guilty plea.
¶ 34 You also did four days in jail, and that's a significant factor in my mind. If that experience of four days in jail when you got arrested on this didn't straighten out your head as to where you were going and how your actions were affecting your life and others' lives, then nothing would, in my view. So that's a significant thing that you did, the four days. That's a big part of why a conditional discharge is appropriate here.
¶ 35 The other factors as to why a conditional discharge is appropriate, I've already mentioned, but also the fact that you're paying restitution. Mr Penney is in funds to pay restitution of not only the student housing, but also to the complainant in this matter. So for all of those reasons I am of the view that the conditional discharge, the joint submission by the lawyers, is an appropriate one. So I will give effect to it.
¶ 36 I'll place you on probation for 12 months. There will be no reporting condition. The only conditions other than the statutory conditions of keeping the, the peace and things like that are going to be that you not have any contact or communication with the complainant in this matter or any member of her immediate family, and you're also not to be within a hundred metres of her place of residence, employment or education or any place you know her to be.
¶ 37 I realize you're in different cities now. The relationship is over so there will be no need to have any contact, but those terms will remain part of this 12-month probation. All right. There is a victim fine surcharge, Mr Penney.