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UPDATED: Amy Hood found guilty


PICTOU – A former Pictou County school teacher has been found guilty of four sex-related charges.

Carolyn Amy Hood, 39, had admitted to four of the six charges that include two counts of luring, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. The charges were laid in relation to offences involving minors from Feb.1 to Sept. 30, 2013. 

She was teaching Grade 6 at Thorburn Consolidated at the time when it was a Primary to Grade 9 school. The defence argued during an eight-day trial in October that Hood was not criminally responsible at the time because of a mental disorder, but the court wasn’t convinced by this argument and rendered guilty verdicts on all four charges. 

Two additional sex-related charges were withdrawn by the Crown and three charges alleging breaches of a court undertaking have been stayed. A sentencing hearing will take place on July 26. 

In his 79-page written decision, Judge Del Atwood said although Hood was afflicted with a bipolar disorder type one, he was not satisfied she was experiencing a mental disorder at the time she committed the criminal acts.

“Having reviewed the entirety of the record, there is nothing that would lead me to conclude anything other than that Ms. Hood intended the natural consequences of her voluntary actions,” he wrote.

Crown attorney Bill Gorman said he is pleased with the verdict and will study the judge’s decision carefully when it comes time to recommending a sentence.

“We will be seeking custody,” he said. “I will have to consider the decision in its entirety and look at similar cases and consider everything but I will be recommending actual incarceration.

Gorman said the fact that Hood was in a position of trust as a teacher at the time of the offences and that the victims were young are considered aggravating points when it comes to sentencing.

Defence lawyer Joel Pink said he had his client consider all possible verdicts so she would be prepared for Wednesday’s proceedings and now he will turn his attention to the sentencing hearing in July.

“She has surrendered her licence so she will not be a teacher again. She has lost her profession and further she has had a tremendous amount of negative publicity and a lot of it was unfair and that will all come out during the sentencing process,” he said. “Something that the court can take into account is the publicity one has during the course of a trial. Needless to say there is one particular publication that has been extremely negative and very hurtful and harmful. That of course will be brought up during the course of the sentencing process.”

Pink said the fact that the judge acknowledged that Hood did suffer from a bipolar disorder could also be taken into account when it comes to determining her sentence.

“If a person is suffering from a mental illness that is a factor the court can take into account,” he said.

Psychiatrists who testified for the defence stated that Hood was suffering from a severe bipolar disorder at the time of the offences and was in a manic state that affected her judgment. 

In addition to evidence by the forensic psychiatrists, the defence also had members of Hood’s family testify about noticeable changes in her behaviour including an increase in energy, disorganization and lack of sleep. 

Hundreds of text messages made up a large portion of the physical evidence that showed Hood had sent sexual texts and photos of herself to two 15-year-old boys. She also performed oral sex on one of the boys within this timeframe.

A psychiatrist, who testified as a Crown witness, said he didn’t dispute the fact that she suffers from bipolar or had a recent manic episode but he said the episode wasn’t severe enough to impair judgment either legally or morally.

Carolyn Amy Hood, 39, had admitted to four of the six charges that include two counts of luring, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. The charges were laid in relation to offences involving minors from Feb.1 to Sept. 30, 2013. 

She was teaching Grade 6 at Thorburn Consolidated at the time when it was a Primary to Grade 9 school. The defence argued during an eight-day trial in October that Hood was not criminally responsible at the time because of a mental disorder, but the court wasn’t convinced by this argument and rendered guilty verdicts on all four charges. 

Two additional sex-related charges were withdrawn by the Crown and three charges alleging breaches of a court undertaking have been stayed. A sentencing hearing will take place on July 26. 

In his 79-page written decision, Judge Del Atwood said although Hood was afflicted with a bipolar disorder type one, he was not satisfied she was experiencing a mental disorder at the time she committed the criminal acts.

“Having reviewed the entirety of the record, there is nothing that would lead me to conclude anything other than that Ms. Hood intended the natural consequences of her voluntary actions,” he wrote.

Crown attorney Bill Gorman said he is pleased with the verdict and will study the judge’s decision carefully when it comes time to recommending a sentence.

“We will be seeking custody,” he said. “I will have to consider the decision in its entirety and look at similar cases and consider everything but I will be recommending actual incarceration.

Gorman said the fact that Hood was in a position of trust as a teacher at the time of the offences and that the victims were young are considered aggravating points when it comes to sentencing.

Defence lawyer Joel Pink said he had his client consider all possible verdicts so she would be prepared for Wednesday’s proceedings and now he will turn his attention to the sentencing hearing in July.

“She has surrendered her licence so she will not be a teacher again. She has lost her profession and further she has had a tremendous amount of negative publicity and a lot of it was unfair and that will all come out during the sentencing process,” he said. “Something that the court can take into account is the publicity one has during the course of a trial. Needless to say there is one particular publication that has been extremely negative and very hurtful and harmful. That of course will be brought up during the course of the sentencing process.”

Pink said the fact that the judge acknowledged that Hood did suffer from a bipolar disorder could also be taken into account when it comes to determining her sentence.

“If a person is suffering from a mental illness that is a factor the court can take into account,” he said.

Psychiatrists who testified for the defence stated that Hood was suffering from a severe bipolar disorder at the time of the offences and was in a manic state that affected her judgment. 

In addition to evidence by the forensic psychiatrists, the defence also had members of Hood’s family testify about noticeable changes in her behaviour including an increase in energy, disorganization and lack of sleep. 

Hundreds of text messages made up a large portion of the physical evidence that showed Hood had sent sexual texts and photos of herself to two 15-year-old boys. She also performed oral sex on one of the boys within this timeframe.

A psychiatrist, who testified as a Crown witness, said he didn’t dispute the fact that she suffers from bipolar or had a recent manic episode but he said the episode wasn’t severe enough to impair judgment either legally or morally.

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