Appearing handcuffed and in custody, in courtroom 103 for a bail hearing today is 20-year-old Riley Freeman. Justice of the Peace Marcel Donio presiding, with Mary-Ann Macket as Crown Attorney and George Joseph as defense lawyer.
All of the information in this article are just allegations, none of it has been proven in court. Here is the list of charges Riley Freeman is facing:
- Failure to comply with bail conditions x2
- Assault x2
- Assault with a weapon x2
- Mischief under $5000
- Theft under $5000
- Obstruct a peace officer
- Threaten to damage property
The crown states that this is a reverse onus situation, meaning that the onus is on the defence to show cause as to why Freeman should be released. The crown has reviewed the bail safety plan and still has concerns on the secondary grounds, which means the crown believes there is a substantial possibility for Freeman to re-offend or become a public safety issue. The crown also expresses concerns regarding the tertiary grounds, which means that the accused must be detained to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice.
The crown presents her evidence. On the evening of December 8th at approximately 10 pm, officers responded to a call for service at the complainant’s home. Upon police arrival, they discovered that the complainant and Freeman had been arguing. He pushed the victim into the bathtub of the home, upon exiting the bathroom, Freeman knocked down several pictures off the wall and stomped on them, then broke a record player and “punched many holes in the drywall of the residence”.
Furthermore, Freeman repeatedly shoved the complainant against the wall and then held their throat for about 10 seconds, and at one point threw a drink in their face. The complainant stated to police that Freeman hit the complainant across the stomach with a broom handle. The complainant was hit so forcibly, that the broom handle was bent. The complainant stated that their body ached after this. The complainant alleges that Freeman also took their iPhone during this incident. There was a witness who saw this assault.
A few nights before this incident, the complainant said that around 11:00 pm Freeman had shown up at the complainant’s home and punched them in the ribs during a screaming match, and also punched the complainant in the mouth. No charges were laid during this incident.
The crown submits Freeman’s Criminal Record as evidence, and also states that there has been indications from people that Freeman is addicted to cocaine.
January 20th in 2018, police received a 911 call between the same complainant and Freeman. Officers attended and a witness stated that Freeman was intoxicated and in an argument with the complainant. Once Freeman was alerted police were called, he left the scene as he had a no contact/communication order in place in regards to the complainant.
March 17th, 2018 Freeman was arrested, and the arrest report shows that Freeman was intoxicated.
March 30th, 2018 at around 10:17 pm a 911 call was made in regards to an incident at the complainant’s house. Freeman was there at about 10:00 pm, drank a shot of vodka, and started screaming at the complainant and a guest of the home. The guest attempted to defend the complainant and Freeman attempted to punch the guest with a closed fist but missed, and hit the complainant. Freeman then grabbed the guest and threw them towards a set of stairs. The guest fell near the stairs and hit their head on the wall. Freeman then turned towards the complainant, screaming and demanding that the complainant leaves with him. Then Freeman flipped the coffee table over and started to threaten to damage property if the complainant didn’t come with him. Then punched the TV and tried to rip it off the wall, grabbed a metal frame picture and threw it at the complainant, striking them in the head. The complainant decided to go with Freeman in fear of their safety.
Officers were then dispatched to Freeman’s residence, where they knocked on the door. Freeman refused to open the door. Police entered the residence and Freeman ran to the basement and hid. The police did a CPIC check and were made aware that Freeman was already on an undertaking with release conditions. One of the conditions was “no contact with (complainant)”.
The police were concerned with the complainant’s safety and asked where they were. Freeman denied that the complainant got into his vehicle with him, then later said that they did get into the vehicle but got out of the truck at another location, and then said that he didn’t know where they were, but if they called out that the complainant would come. Finally, Freeman informed the police that the complainant was upstairs. The complainant was found hiding in a clothes dryer and refused to co-operate with police.
During the March 30th arrest, Freeman was found to be intoxicated.
The crown submits copies of Freeman’s earlier release conditions, one being a promise to appear, and the second being an undertaking, as well as Freeman’s criminal record which has youth and adult convictions. The crown mentions how the proposed surety, Freeman’s mother, has no background that causes the crown any concern.
Defence lawyer George Joseph calls Freeman’s mother to the stand.
Josephs examination of Freeman’s mother reveals:
- Works full-time out of her home
- Has possessions in excess of $5000 value
- Riley is 20 years old
- Nobody else lives at her house, other than her and Riley
- Riley works as a labourer for over a year now
- Riley has done very well at his job
- Riley works from 8am until as late as 7pm
- Riley has his own car that he pays for entirely on his own
- Freeman’s mother understands that her son is not to contact the victim
- Freeman’s mother understands that her son is not to violate his conditions
- Freeman’s mother understands that she has to call the police should Riley not comply with his conditions
- No alcohol in Ms Freeman’s house
- Is willing to enforce no alcohol on Riley
- Freeman’s mother understands if Riley comes home smelling of alcohol, that she is to call the police
- Freeman’s mother has no criminal record
- Freeman’s mother has no outstanding charges
The crown steps up to cross-examine Freeman’s mother by saying “Your son had a temper problem for a long time?”. Here’s what the crowns cross-examination has revealed:
- Freeman has had a temper problem since middle school, grade 7 or so
- Mom has told him it’s unacceptable and he needs to get in control of his temper
- Freeman is aware of his temper problem
- Mom says she knows he uses drugs such as cocaine
- Mom has talked to him about drug use, and he is enlisted in counselling
- Freeman has went to anger management before
- Freeman has never been impaired to the point of losing control in moms house
- Mom didn’t know Freeman had an alcohol problem
- Freeman breached his bail conditions before
- Freeman was charged before with flight from police
- Freeman has been convicted before for failing to comply with recognizance (breach of bail conditions)
- Knows who the complainant is, but not who the complainants guest is.
- Mom does not know how to use Facebook and does not know how to monitor Freeman’s Facebook use.
Justice of the Peace Donio asks Freeman’s mother a few questions, which reveals:
- Freeman is not her only child, She has an older child that lives on their own
- Mom was aware of his drug issue, but not his alcohol issue
- Mom has witnessed Freeman drink, but not excessively
- Freeman’s tantrums have never been directed towards his mother
- Freeman was court ordered to go to anger management previously
- Freeman was successful at the time he took anger management
- Mom is willing to pledge assets of $1000 – $2000 “Whatever I have to I guess”
Defense lawyer George Joseph begins his submissions, and recommends releasing Freeman on a recognizance with his mother as surety. Joseph lists off his recommended list of conditions, and mentions how the strict conditions should address the secondary and tertiary grounds the crown was concerned with. The crown also submits that Freeman’s mother is a good surety, and just wonders if Freeman himself is a good person to release. The crown recommends similar conditions as Joseph recommended, but adds a “Facebook ban” due to Freeman’s mother not being able to monitor his use. Joseph responds by mentioning that because someone uses a telephone to break their no contact/communication order, does not mean that we should prohibit their telephone use.
The court is stood down for some time so that Justice of the Peace Donio may make his decision.
Court is resumed and after a lengthy statement to Freeman, reiterating his mistakes and highlighting the need to do better, Justice Donio is going to release Freeman, with the following conditions:
- Recognizance with surety (Mom)
- Reside with Mom
- $3500 non deposit from Mom
- $2000 non deposit from Freeman
- 8 pm – 7 am Curfew, except for work or medical emergencies
- Present himself at the door in the event of a police check, at reasonable times
- Abstain from contact/communication with the complainant and their “guest”
- Abstain from alcohol and illicit drugs
- Be amendable to the rules of his surety (Mom)
- Phone police station once a week to check-in
- Weapons Ban
- Not to apply for a weapons license
- Not to attend on the entire street that the complainant lives on
- Do not attend anywhere, that the principle purpose of which is the dispensing of alcoholic beverages
Justice of the peace reminds Freeman to listen to his mother, reminding him that if he doesn’t, he may end up back in jail.
Freeman’s handcuffs are removed and he rushes over to sit next to his mother to wait to sign his release order, upon signing his release order, he walks past me and utters “get a real job”. I laughed, he looked upset, we had a moment where I felt we really bonded, journalist and criminal. Riley if you’re reading this, stop hitting people, you can do better.
An earlier story about Riley Freeman below:
Appearing by video this morning from the Thunder Bay Police Service station is 20-year-old Riley Freeman. Justice of the Peace Zelda Kitchekeesik presiding, Crown Attorney…
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.