Appearing in courtroom 104 this afternoon is a tall, and strong looking young offender wearing institutional burgundy sweatshirt and track pants from the youth centre. The accused is from Summer Beaver Indian Settlement who will only be identified by their initials R.O.. Justice of the Peace Denette Maslach is presiding with Justice of the Peace Zelda Kitchekeesik training, Crown Attorney is Jane Ann McGill and Defense Lawyer is Leon Nicol. The accused’s father is in the courtroom, and the mother is in the hallway outside.
The bail hearing today stems from a February 8th, 2018 incident at 288 Windsor Street which saw a heavy police presence and 5 people arrested. Officers responded to a call about a possible robbery at around 9:30 am that day. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that there were two male victims aged 18 and 21 that sustained what appeared to be minor injuries. 5 other males aged 16, 22, 27, 29, and 33 years of age were detained and charged with Forcible Confinement and Robbery. Everyone involved was known to each other, and 2 of the accused lived in the home.
It is alleged that on February 8th, 2018 armed with clubs and garbage bags, the accused with other males entered a home on 288 Windsor Street. One of the males with the accused had two knives on him and wanted to trade with one of the victims for drugs, the victim refused.
One victim was assaulted by a co-accused, and the accused assaulted a second victim with a club like object 6 times in the back of the head. Then the victims clothing were forcibly removed and had items stolen from them, such as clothing, shoes, and $200 cash. Sources have indicated that the victims were members of a local gang 1hunna.
One victim was forced to remain seated and not to move, then was able to escape the scene and run to a neighbours home and dial 911. Police were ready to breach the door, but one of the males opened the door for police. Police located R.O. hiding in the basement.
The crown is seeking for R.O. to be detained on secondary grounds, which means there are public safety concerns regarding the release of this youth. It is mentioned how R.O. has a criminal record, which includes a robbery at a Waterloo St Mac’s location in town, where he had attacked the cashier and went behind the counter to steal from the cash register. R.O. received a 6-month custody sentence for this and a 3-month conditional sentence, and during the conditional sentence, the allegations of the 288 Windsor Street incident had spawned.
The crown notes R.O.’s previous criminal record conviction dates:
- Assault (July 2016)
- Assault with a Weapon (July 2016)
- Breach of Recognizance (July 2016)
- Robbery (June 2017)
- Breach of Probation (June 2017)
The crown mentions that the previous robbery was of a Waterloo Street Mac’s store, he went to the cashier and said “Give me all the cash”, then proceeded behind the counter to attack the Mac’s employee. He was quickly located by police and arrested later on, and was intoxicated.
The crown further notes that R.O. had informed their probation officer that he is a member of the PK Gang, which is from Summer Beaver Indian Settlement. During the hearing, Leon Nicol explained that “PK” stands for “Posse Killer”.
Leon Nicol begins to address the court. Nicol points out that this incident involved all adults, except for his client. He also notes that Robin DePerry was the main threat that the victim seemed to be afraid of, and that when the victim escaped, it was because DePerry had reached down to tie his shoe. Nicol mentions that there was a review held on March 8th, 2018, pertaining to the accused’s conditional sentence order, which had a report that indicated R.O. had some alcohol and curfew problems back home in Summer Beaver Indian Settlement. Nicol points out that the accused’s conditional sentence order had finished yesterday, and that the father of the accused is present in the courtroom and willing to be surety.
Nicol says that the accused is willing to stay in Summer Beaver Indian Settlement until the time comes for a guilty plea or otherwise, in which he would return to court for that date.
Justice Maslach orders the special constable to take the handcuffs off the accused, as Nicol calls up the accused’s father to take the stand.
Nicol’s examination of the father reveals:
- Is employed
- Has 6 children, 4 live with him, and 3 are adults
- Mother lives in the home as well
- Has no concerns with the accused coming home
- Wants the accused to be court-ordered to continue their education
- Is willing to continue his own education alongside the accused
- Mentions there are traditional teachings back home to help the accused heal
- Will call the police if the accused breaks release conditions
- Believes a curfew should be instated
- Wants the accused to do chores around the home
- Understands that he has to enforce the court-ordered conditions
- Believes the accused is beginning to change for the better
- Claims the accused was assaulted on February 8th, 2018, and that police were not notified
The Crown’s examination of the father reveals:
- The accused’s previous assault was on a friend back in Summer Beaver Indian Settlement
- Father was the accused’s previous surety
- Accused breached conditions previously while Father was away for work
- Leaves home for work frequently
- Was in town February 8th for a conference, brought accused with him
- Stayed at the Landmark February 8th
- Told accused to stay in the hotel room
- Does not know anyone that lives at 288 Windsor
- Does not know how the accused knows anyone at 288 Windsor
- Claims the accused was assaulted February 6th with a cut on their head
- Agrees the accused robbed the mac’s, was in town with the accused at the time
- Didn’t realize the accused was drinking and had robbed a Mac’s
- Understands it’s important to follow court orders and acknowledges that the accused has not been following those orders
- Summer Beaver is a dry reserve, but there are a few bootlegs
- Enrolled the accused in school, but the February 8th incident has prevented registration
It is noted that the Father has been vetted and passed all the background checks, such as has no criminal record, etc.
The crown begins her submissions and claims she still has concerns on the secondary grounds, that means she is concerned with the public’s safety. Citing the criminal record, mentioning that this is the accused’s third set of charges. She recites the accused’s record which has assaults, and robbery which happened under the fathers watch. The crown notes that even with a significant jail sentence for the Mac’s robbery, the behaviour continues.
Both the robbery and the current charges the saw accused in town with their father and committed significant acts of violence. The crown notes that the father has the best of intentions, but seems to not know what his child is doing when not in his sight. The accused has shown that they will sneak out as soon as there is a lapse in supervision.
The crown addresses the alcohol issue, noting that the accused was consuming alcohol during the robbery. Furthermore, the accused has proven that they do not listen to their father or court orders. It’s clear the accused does not obey rules.
Leon Nicol begins his submissions before the court. He cites training he took called “Native Awareness”, and recalls that he learned there is an attitude that you do not question the who, the what, the details, or challenge people about things. He cites an example of how this was taught by mentioning there were people in a canoe that was about to strike a rock, and that nobody sounded an alarm. Nicol submits that the crown has not shown cause why the accused cannot be released on conditions, he mentions that the Thunder Bay community would be safe as the accused would be in their home of Summer Beaver, where he has more support, and the whole community would help to watch him.
The Justice of the Peace stands down the case for some time to come to a decision.
Upon the Justice of the Peace’s return, she cites many youth laws and criminal code regarding her decision. She speaks of her duty to find the balance between the probabilities of people reoffending and putting the public safety at risk. Justice of the Peace Maslach presses the need to protect the public from violence. She cites several cases that support her decsion. She highlights how the accused has continued to breach conditions in the past and present, and the pattern of behaviour raises concerns. The decision is delivered after an approximately 15-minute long explanation.
“The crown has met its onus, the court is not confident that the public can be protected with the proposed surety plan, detention is ordered on the secondary grounds,” says Justice of the Peace Maslach.
The Justice of the Peace is not confident that the public could be protected with the proposed surety, she further instates a “no contact order” with the victims and co-accused while in custody.
The accused is escorted back into the courthouse holding cell to await transport back to the youth institution
Citizen journalist born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I like pizza and reporting on concerning events that are in my home region, or that impact it. You can read more by clicking here.