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Voicemail death threat nets six-month suspended sentence for Barrhead man

Defence notes the accused's emotions were high due to custody dispute
Barrhead Provincial Court (VM)

BARRHEAD - A Barrhead man received a six-month suspended sentence for uttering a leaving a voicemail death threat.

Justice Carrie-Ann Downey sentenced Christopher Kolbi O'Brien to 10 hours of community service after he pleaded guilty to threats to cause bodily harm or death in Barrhead Court of Justice on June 25. Justice Downey gave the accused until Dec.10, 2024, to complete his community service by Dec/ 20, 2024. She also ordered O'Brien to pay a $100 victim fine surcharge.

Crown prosecutor Brett Grierson said that on March 24, 2024, the accused left a death threat on a voicemail, saying, "I'm going to f@#%king kill you."

He said the accused was angry at his relative because the relative had served him with court papers regarding an ongoing custody dispute.

Defence counsel Gary Smith explained that the relative is seeking private guardianship, which his client is contesting.

The Crown said conditions for the suspended sentence include compulsory good behaviour and keeping the peace, appearing before the court when required, and notifying the probation office of any changes in living situation, such as employment or change of address.

Griersen also asked for and was granted a no-contact condition with the complainant except under a court order by a member of the Law Society of Alberta or via text message to arrange access to his child.

He added the family member has temporary custody of O'Brien's children.

On the mitigating side, the Crown noted O'Brien's early guilty plea and that he has no criminal record.

"In many ways, this is keeping the offender away from the victim," Grierson said. "There is a small denunciatory penalty for community service work to reflect the seriousness of the offence. There was a death threat here that [the family member] has taken seriously in a context where it was reasonable to take it seriously in a domestic context."

Smith said his client, 32, regrets his actions.

"[His children were living with the relative after being placed in their care] and [when that relative] applied for private guardianship, he reacted inappropriately," he said. "Moving forward, access will not be an issue. They've been dealing with it through a third party."

Barry Kerton,

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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