Slow start to LORDA syrup production
LANSDOWNE – Jim Crawford holds out a cup filled with a clear liquid. It doesn’t look like much – in fact it just looks like water.
A Cape Breton teen now records the dubious distinction of being the first person in Nova Scotia to be banned, by court order, from using any social media site.
The teen was ordered Thursday to delete any Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts within 24 hours and is further prohibited from accessing such sites under an alias. The order remains in effect for the next 21 months.Provincial court Judge Jean Whalen also ordered the youth submit all pass codes to his sentencing supervisor and will be subject to routine monitoring to ensure he is abiding by the prohibition.
“This is the first time in the province such an order has been issued,” said prosecutor Steve Drake, in speaking to reporters after the sentencing hearing.
Drake said while the decision is not binding on other courts across the province, it does set a precedent which can be used as a persuasive argument in other similar cases.
This is the second time Drake has requested such an order. The first request stopped short of a total ban when the judge ruled the offender could access social media to contact family in the United States. However, the youth in that case also had to report all user names and pass codes and was also subject to monitoring by a sentencing supervisor.
The latest prohibition came after the Sydney teen pleaded guilty to three counts of assault, three counts of uttering threats and single counts of sexual assault, criminal harassment, mischief, assault with a weapon (a knife).
The offences occurred in Sydney and New Waterford between September 2013 and April of this year.
At the time the offences were committed, the youth was 17 and recently only turned 18. He was sentenced as a youth Thursday meaning his identity is banned from publication in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The majority of the offences involved a former girlfriend. The two are now parents of an infant born earlier this year.
The assaults involved punching, pushing and even banging the former girlfriend’s head off a floor and into a door casing.
The assault with a knife involved another male and occurred at a local high school. The teen put the knife to the neck of another student and pondered aloud whether he should kill him.
The sexual assault involved the former girlfriend after he accused her of cheating on him. In demanding sex, the teen touched the woman’s breasts and vagina despite her persistence that he stop.
In recounting the facts of the offence, Drake said the teen did stop when he went into the kitchen to make hotdogs only to return and start shoving them into the woman’s mouth and ears.
A more disturbing aspect of the case, said Drake, were the repeated messages the teen sent his former love over a two-day period in December 2013.
Drake said the youth made 22 references for the girl to die or kill herself, 25 references to her being a pig, whore and a slut and 27 references, in one sentence alone, of her being a whore.
“A waste of air and time is what you are,” said the teen, in one exchange.
In response, the girl asked the teen to stop sending her messages, and sent back sad face emoticon. The boy’s new girlfriend also joined in but those messages were not read in court.
The teen has 14 prior convictions for such offences as theft and assault and spent the equivalent of nearly five months on remand.
In requesting the social media ban, Drake said crime has consequences and one consequence of this crime should be a prohibition.
In accepting the joint sentencing recommendation, the judge described the teen’s behaviour was violent, degrading and despicable.
“Would you want someone to talk to your mother like that,” commented Whalen.
The youth must now complete a six-month house arrest sentence followed by a 15-month probation period both of which include 22 conditions. He is also banned from possessing firearms for two years.
Among his conditions, the youth is to prohibited from alcohol and drugs not prescribed him by a physician, abide by a curfew and have no contact with his former girlfriend.