(THUNDER BAY, ON) – Appearing handcuffed in the prisoner’s box of courtroom 102 this afternoon was 36 year old Alphius Samson Skunk. Her Honour, Justice Chantal Brochu was presiding over court along with Crown Attorney P. Pasloski and defence counsel Kate Brindley.
Court gets rolling with Skunk pleading guilty to 4 charges which were laid against him at various times earlier in 2019. Those charges are:
- Theft under $5000 x3 (vodka, all of them).
- Assault on a woman.
AGREED STATEMENT OF FACTS
Crown Attorney P. Pasloski gets the matter moving along by reading in the agreed statement of facts into the court record. Court hears that on February 10th, 2019, Skunk walked into the LCBO located at 1010 Dawson Road and took a bottle of vodka valued around $48 and left the store without paying.
On February 15th, 2019, Skunk entered the LCBO located at 100 North Cumberland and grabbed another bottle of vodka valued around $48 and left the store without paying.
February 19th, 2019 rolls around and Skunk enters the LCBO located at 100 North Cumberland, yet again grabbing a bottle of vodka valued around $48 and leaves the store without paying.
On August 28th, 2019, Skunk assaulted a woman outside of the Subway located on Cumberland. Two independent witnesses claim they saw Skunk punch the woman and kick her. Skunk was drunk as a skunk at the time. The woman had a visible injury near her eye.
Court hears that Skunk started drinking at the young age of 9 years old. His parents were removed by non-indigenous people from their First Nation reserve at a young age and were raised by non-indigenous people in southern Ontario. Skunk is not sure if they were apart of the Sixties Scoop, but Her Honour agrees that the circumstances are nearly identical. His Gladue factors are substantial.
Court hears that Skunk has a significant criminal record which includes convictions of assault causing bodily harm, twice, and various other offences. The Crown is requesting the Skunk submit his DNA into the national DNA database.
We have a contested submission when it comes to the amount of time that Skunk should be in jail for. The Crown is pressing for 6 months and tells the court that Skunk has previous convictions for assaulting his significant other. Criminal defence lawyer Kate Brindley submits to the court that a 4 months jail sentence would be appropriate and cites the mitigating circumstances such as his gladue factors and his alcohol issues.
Her Honour asks Skunk if he has anything to say, I can’t make out what he said. Her Honour reiterates the agreed statement of facts and acknowledges Skunks Gladue factors. She also states that there is no question that these crimes were fueled by an alcohol addiction. She further states that Skunk struggles with alcohol and acknowledges the struggles that First Nation families go through due to past trauma and intergenerational trauma. These are factors that the courts take into consideration when sentencing someone.
Gladue factors are not a “get out of jail free card”, they are applied by law and must be considered by all Judge’s while making sentencing decisions. Skunk is definitely going to be serving jail time, but the question is how much is appropriate considering the factors presented.
After much thought and running through the facts of the case, Her Honour decides that a 5 month jail sentence is appropriate for Skunk. He is also ordered to supply his DNA to the DNA database. Her Honour also orders him not to possess any weapons for 2 years.
He is further sentenced to 60 days for the three thefts. Skunk has been in jail since the August 28th, 2019 assault. After considering his presentence custody, he has 13 days left to serve of the 60 days and then will start his 5 month sentence for the assault. Likely at the Thunder Bay District Jail, unless he gets shipped out to another facility that is helping alleviate the overpopulation of prisoners in our local jail.
The Crown withdraws all other charges that Skunk had outstanding in this case. Skunk is also slammed with a 12 month probation order after his release from jail. He will have to abide by the usual conditions such as report to his worker, engage in counselling surrounding his alcohol abuse and domestic violence.
He is now escorted out of the prisoners box and brought back down into the holding cells located in the basement of the courthouse. At that time he will wait for a prisoner transport to pick him up and return him to the overcrowded and understaffed Thunder Bay District Jail (A.K.A. “The Algoma Bed & Breakfast”).
It’s likely he will be out possibly by Christmas, just in time for the holidays.
In the case of Aboriginal mothers, stories of government involvement in family life often go back generations. The legacy of removing children from their families and communities, first through the residential schools, and then through the child protection system, continues to impact the lives of these mothers, their children and their grandchildren.
—Pivot Legal Society, Broken Promises