Accused in Gang Assault Pleads Guilty and Gets Sentenced.
A 24-year-old Jeremy Mequanawap appeared in Courtroom 105 on February 28th with shiny silver bracelets that are attached to each other. He was scheduled for trial in front of Judge Pelletier on assault but there has been a last minute decision to plead guilty. He’s been in custody since December 16, 2017, for 75 days which is enhanced to 113 days.
Mequanawap is slightly over 6 feet tall and average build. The sides of his head are shaved and his face is cleanly shaven. He’s wearing a red Toronto Raptor hoodie under a black jacket along with camouflage pants. He is represented by lawyer Neil McCartney. There are 2 Crown Attorneys. Sarah Munch (she’s new) and Ashton Brown.
Mequanawap is smiling and smirking as all his charges are read out and he pleads guilty. He continues the smirky smiles as admitted facts are read in court.
Admitted facts are that he was sentenced June 6, 2017, to probation and was supposed to report within 2 days. He didn’t report.
On June 28, 2017, shortly after 9 pm, police spotted 2 individuals fighting on Red River Road. They broke up the fight. Mequanawap provided someone else’s Health card in an effort to obstruct police. It took police some time to correctly identify him. He was also breaching his 9pm-6am curfew. He’s arrested and released.
On July 26, 2017, he did not report to probation officer.
On September 11, 2017, Mequanawap buys some Percocet pills at a Limbrick Street home from a young female woman. He returns with 6 other people who enter the home and accuses her of selling fake pills. They then put a couch in front of the door and dragged the young woman downstairs in the basement to assault her. She receives 2 black eyes as well as a cut that required several stitches above one eye. She was told that she had 2 options, either leave town or say nothing about this incident. The victim spent 14 days in the hospital. She required 4 months of rehabilitative therapy on her arm. She also had an infection that could not be attributed to the assault. Mequanawap is arrested, charged and released.
On December 16, 2017, the TBPS receive a call from security at the Shoreline Hotel after 2 am about an unwanted male unwilling to leave. Police arrive and arrest Mequanawap. He provides a false name to obstruct police again. TBPS officers eventually ID him.
The victim of the September 11/17 assault comes forward to give a Victim Impact Statement. She’s a young, pretty mother of a young child. She says this has changed her life. She’s very tearful recalling this information. She stopped using drugs after this incident. She details her injuries to Judge Pelletier. She says she forgives Jeremy because it’s in her nature to forgive. But she’s very scared because he knows where she lives and requires counselling for PTSD since this incident. She has very supportive family members with her in court.
Joint submission from Crown and defence is for a time served sentence.
Judge Pelletier immediately voices her displeasure with the joint submission. This is not acceptable to her. Of particular concern is the unprovoked gang style attack with the forcible confinement and threats. She’s surprised there wasn’t charges for that against Mequanawap. Court hears there is one other co-accused (Nicky Jourdain-McGuire) in this attack. The others were not identified. She tells counsel that she has an obligation as a judge to ensure proper sentencing guidelines are followed. She thinks a longer sentence is required. She feels something in the 120-180 day range would be more acceptable. Denunciation and deterrence are sentencing objectives. She tells defence lawyer McCartney that she seen his client smiling through this proceeding. He tries to suggest that it might be a nervous reaction from his client. Judge Pelletier doesn’t appear to be receptive to that suggestion. Mequanawap is not smiling anymore.
Judge Pelletier tells counsel that she’s standing down the matter until 3 pm and she expects a more acceptable joint submission.
Court resumes at 3 pm.
Gladue factors are that Mequanawap is an Ojibway from Fort Hope Indian Reserve #64. It’s a community that’s plagued by alcoholism and drugs. His mother sold drugs on the reserve and as a child, he went through several foster homes and youth custody facilities. He has a child that he doesn’t see anymore. Mequanawap has a lengthy and aggravating criminal record. He has several assaults on his record including an assault on police officer. Armed robbery, theft, weapons and numerous breaches of court orders.
Judge Pelletier acknowledges that Mequanawap is entitled to Gladue factors but this gang style assault disturbs her.
His longest period of custody was 70 days for a concealed weapon and assaulting a police officer in 2012.
Judge Pelletier decides that Mequanawap will be sentenced to 180 days in jail less the 113 enhanced days leaving him with 67 days on the assault. But she’s also giving consecutive sentences totalling another 90 days on the remaining charges for a total of 157 days extra time. He’s getting another 12 months of probation plus a DNA order and 5-year weapon ban. He has 18 months to pay an 800$ victim surcharge fine. He has a non-communication order with his victims
Mequanawap thought he was being released today. He’s being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. He’s not smiling anymore.
From The Desk of Thunder Bay Courthouse – Inside Edition
Team of citizen journalists with over 30 years experience observing court cases.
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