PICTOU – A 20-year-old Trenton man has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to 11 charges that involve threatening his grandmother and her dogs.
Steven Burton Ward was sentenced Thursday in Pictou provincial court in connection with charges laid during his arrest on June 23 in Trenton that involved him threatening this grandmother, her home, her dogs, stealing her car and resisting arrest by police.
He was arrested after a disturbance at the home of his grandmother led to a police chase through the woods. He returned to his grandmother’s home with a knife in hand and police had to use a Taser to subdue him.
Ward was charged with resisting arrest, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, assault with a weapon, theft of a motor vehicle and uttering threats. He did plead not guilty to the charges, but changed his plea after his trial started.
He faced a total of 11 charges and has been in custody since June. The Crown asked the judge to consider a sentence of three years in federal prison while the defence said a four-month sentence followed by probation would give his client time to find a place to live and continue with his counselling and therapy on an outpatient basis.
The Crown said Ward suffers from some serious mental health issues that have been made worse by substance abuse. However, since he has been awaiting sentencing, he has been forced to take his medication regularly which is helping to improve his mental health.
Judge Del Atwood delivered his decision Thursday in Pictou provincial court saying that he doesn’t feel the defence’s suggested four-month sentence will give Ward the time he needs to be rehabilitated.
He agreed that 118 days of forced detoxification and remand have made Ward appear to be fit and healthier than in the past, but release from prison in just a few months will not ensure that he can continue with his rehabilitation on his own.
“It will take more than four months on remand and a few months tacked on after that to change his deeply grained lifestyle and habits,” Atwood said.
Atwood said the crimes committed depicted a high level of violence that didn’t just involve threats to his grandmother and her beloved pets, but also violent actions when he took off in car at a high speed and later tried to enter the home, while surrounded by police, with a knife on him.
He commended the police handling of the situation, stating that such an incident could have ended in a loss of life.
Atwood said although Ward has the support of his grandmother, the incident was terrifying for the elderly woman and has left her shaken.
Ward was granted 118 days’ time served so his total sentence could have extended beyond the 30 months if this wasn’t into account. In addition to the lengthy sentence, he was also handed a lifetime ban from possessing any prohibited weapon and is subject to a DNA order.