Judge pondering sentence for man guilty of assault, breaches

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PICTOU – The sentencing of a Thorburn man has been adjourned for two days so a provincial court judge can consider the sentence. 

Marcus Devin English is charged with two counts of assault, damaging a vehicle and unlawfully entering a dwelling house on Aug. 16, 2012, as well as two breaches of a court order in August and September 2012.

He also pleaded guilty to new charges of driving while impaired in December 2012 as well as breaches in November 2012 and January.

Crown attorney Jody McNeill told the court Tuesday that English was arrested Aug. 16 after Stellarton police received a phone call from someone saying they heard a vehicle being smashed in their neighbourhood.

When officers arrived at the Stellarton residence around 4:30 a.m., a woman said her ex-boyfriend had walked into her home uninvited, assaulted her male friend several times by punching him and then left the home.  However, he returned a short time later when the woman and her friend were sitting in a vehicle in the driveway.

McNeill said English smashed the car’s windshield and jumped on the hood of the vehicle. He was arrested and released on a court undertaking to keep the peace, stay away from alcohol and his ex-girlfriend.

However, the court was told that English contacted the woman after his arrest through texts and phone calls in addition to showing up at her home.

He was also charged with impaired driving on Dec. 29 after pulling into a parking lot at the East River Plaza behind a police vehicle. The officer was conducting speed checks and heard an engine revving behind him. McNeill said when police stopped the vehicle, English was in the driver’s seat and showed signs of being intoxicated.

Again, he was released on a court order to keep the peace, but was arrested again on Jan. 7, when he caused a disturbance at a local church. McNeill said English was attending a men’s night function but became agitated when people at the event told him he shouldn't be drinking. He left the hall and went to the kitchen in search of knife to harm himself, but the men were able to stop him. He eventually left the church and was picked up by police a short time later. He was taken to the Aberdeen Hospital for assessment and later charged with breaching a court order by drinking alcohol.

McNeill said English has obvious alcohol problems and mental health issues that involve attention deficit and hyperactivity. He has also suffered from depression in the past and people have described him as reckless.

The Crown added that English was employed with a local construction company and did, at one point, have a scholarship to a university but he failed to get his education.  

McNeill asked Judge Del Atwood to consider a sentence of up to 12 months in custody followed by probation, plus an elevated fine for impaired driving and a year’s driving prohibition.

Defence lawyer Hector MacIsaac said his client has substance abuse problems and after the break-up with his girlfriend, things spiralled out of control.

However, he said, his client has benefited from being in custody for the past 50 days awaiting sentencing and appears to have a different outlook on reality.

“I really learned a lot about who I don’t want to become,” English told Atwood during his sentencing. “I reacted badly to bad situations.”

English said he is anxious to spend time with his daughter and return to work with his employer.

“I don’t desire to drink anymore because I will end up back in jail,” he said. I don’t want to drink at all.”

MacIsaac said his client would benefit from a 90-day custodial sentence to be served intermittently on weekends so he could return to work, in addition to extensive counselling for alcohol abuse and mental health support.

Atwood said considering the difference in the two sentencing recommendations, he would need a few days to consider his decision. English will return to court Thursday. 

Organizations: Aberdeen Hospital

Geographic location: Stellarton, East River Plaza

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