BARRHEAD - A former Swan Hills man received close to a month in jail, a $500 fine and 24 months of non-reportable probation after pleading guilty to several charges of breaching previous release, probation and court conditions.
In Barrhead Court of Justice on Sept. 12, Spencer Edwin Kaurin-Lacaille pleaded guilty to failure to comply with a sentence or disposition, three counts of failure to comply with conditions of a release order and failure to appear for a court appearance.
Crown prosecutor Anthony Estephan also withdrew several charges, including assault, assault with a weapon, uttering threats to cause bodily harm or death, possession of a controlled substance, and multiple other failures to comply with release court and probation orders.
Justice Jeffrey Champion sentenced Kaurin-Lacaille to 78 days in jail, including four in place of a $500 fine imposed for failing to comply with a youth court sentence and 24 months probation. However, with 1.5 credit for the 33 days Kaurin-Lacaille had already spent in jail, it left 28 days remaining to be served in his sentence.
"I hope when you get out, you find a way to make better decisions," he said.
Estephan had been looking for a total sentence of 90 days in custody, a $500 fine and 24 months probation, while defence lawyer Richard Forbes agreed with the fine and probation period but suggested 50 days incarceration was more appropriate.
Estephan said Kaurin-Lacaille had been sentenced to two years of probation in Whitecourt Youth Court on Oct. 26, 2021. As part of the conditions of his probation, he was to report in person to his probation officer two weeks later, which he failed to do. He also noted that from April to August 2022, Kaurin-Lacaille missed several other required check-ins with his probation officer.
Estephan noted that on Aug. 26, Swan Hills RCMP received a third-party complaint that said she had been on the phone with her cousin, and she overheard her cousin tell her ex-boyfriend, Kaurin-Lacaille, to leave her home, and that he refused. He added that Kaurin-Lacaille was the subject of a non-contact order with his ex at the time.
The complainant then went to check in on her cousin, but when she arrived, Kaurin-Lacaille had already left but later returned while she was still there.
Three days later, Estephan said the RCMP responded to a possible domestic dispute report at Kaurin-Lacaille's ex-girlfriend's home.
When they arrived, he said that the police did not find Kaurin-Lacaille and that the ex-girlfriend could not provide a statement noting that "she was heavily intoxicated".
The police left and returned later to get clothing and other school supplies for her children, who were staying at the previously mentioned cousin's residence.
"They found him in the house in breach of his release order to not attend the residence," Estephan said.
On Nov. 6, 2022, Swan Hills RCMP received another complaint from Kaurin-Lacaille's ex-girlfriend, saying he was again at her house, knocking on the door and wanting to get inside.
Estephan reiterated that Kaurin-Lacaille had several non-contact release orders bound him. She did not open the door, but he was persistent and left only after she told him she had called the police.
Estephan said several factors influenced the Crown's position. On the mitigating side, he noted the early guilty plea showed that Kaurin-Lacaille was taking responsibility for his actions.
However, on the aggravating side, he noted the accused had a history of ignoring court and probation orders as part of his criminal record.
"Not to mention, we are dealing with repetitive breaches from intimate partner violence," he said. "The gravity of no contact order violations is significant and requires denunciation and deterrence."
Forbes argued for a lesser sentence, noting that in addition to the early plea, his client is Metis and waived his right to Gladu, a pre-sentencing report that courts can use when considering the multitude of factors that can lead an Indigenous person to become in conflict with the law.
"He has had trauma as a young person, spent times in group homes and those for troubled youth from 9 to 15 years old," Forbes said.
He also noted that his client is in a more stable living situation, has been drug-free for eight months, and will be living in Whitecourt away from his ex-girlfriend once released, so following the non-contact order should be less of an issue.