Steps taken to improve help man avoid extra jail time

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PICTOU – A Stellarton man who pleaded with a provincial court judge not to extend his jail sentence had his wish granted Thursday.

Matthew Marshall, 31, was charged with impaired driving May 16 after being involved in a three-vehicle accident near Trafalgar Road.

He is already in the Burnside Correctional Facility for breaching a conditional sentence order and the Crown suggested tacking another 30 to 60 days onto that sentence for this new charge. It also suggested that he be subject to a 15-month driving prohibition.

However, the defence said that Marshall has taken steps to get his alcohol addiction under control by going to counselling and taking on work-related tasks within the jail system to better himself.

However, his lawyer also stated that such self-improvement techniques have not made him popular with some of the inmates and he has been treated poorly at the jail.

“This jail thing is awful,” Marshall said. “I am not like that. I am not like these people. They feed off of me. I have bruises everywhere. I can’t do anymore time in jail, I really can’t.”

Marshall said his alcohol addiction has ruined his life and the lives of those he loves.

“It makes me physically sick to think how selfish I was with my drinking problem,” he said.

Pictou County RCMP responded to the chain-reaction accident around noon on May 16 and Marshall was the first person to fess up to being involved. He told police he caused the accident that occurred when one vehicle stopped to make a left hand turn into a driveway and was hit from behind from another vehicle that was pushed ahead by Marshall’s car.

The RCMP officer noticed that Marshall was having difficulty locating this insurance papers and vehicle’s registration. When Marshall sat in the police car, the officer detected a strong smell of alcohol coming from his breath.

He failed a roadside screening device and his blood alcohol level tested slightly over the legal limit at 90 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood.

Marshall was arrested immediately at the accident scene, not for impaired driving, but for breaching a conditional sentence order.

He was sentenced in February to a 12-month conditional sentence that included house arrest for the duration of the court order on fraud and forgery charges.

Atwood noted that Marshall was taking steps in the right direction to improve his life, but jail time was warranted in light of the fact that public lives were at risk by him travelling along a busy stretch of road, in the middle of the day, while impaired. 

He sentenced Marshall to a 15-month driving prohibition and 14 days’ jail time, but it will run concurrent to his ongoing sentence for breaching a CSO. Atwood also agreed to a request that steps be taken to see if Marshall could be transferred to the Antigonish correctional facility.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Trafalgar Road, Antigonish

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