(THUNDER BAY, ON) – Appearing in the prisoners box before a Judge’s court this afternoon while handcuffed is a 23-year-old Carlos “The Machete Slasher” Christoffersen. Her Honour, Justice Brochu along with Crown Attorney P. Pasloski and criminal defence lawyer Kate Brindley.
Christoffersen is in court today regarding an incident that took place in the south downtown core on March of 2019 which involved a machete attack where a man was seriously injured. Court starts with Christoffersen pleading guilty to the following charges:
- Aggravated assault.
- Breaching bail condition (no weapons).
AGREED STATEMENT OF FACTS
Crown Attorney P. Pasloski speaks to the court and begins reading the agreed statement of facts into the court record. Court hears that there was a group of people on George Street, outside the Shelter House. A woman, who Christoffersen was in a relationship with at the time got into an altercation with a person. She retreated back to the Royal Edward Arms (A.K.A. “The Royal Eddy”) where Christoffersen was in their shared apartment.
Christoffersen then left his apartment while high on drugs and brought a machete with him. He returned to the entrance of the SHelter House where he confronted the male and slashed him in the area of his left elbow. The blade of the machete cut the victims tricep muscle and damaged the bone.
The victim required major surgery and ultimately had to have a metal plate installed to mitigate the damage. Carlos was arrested and released on bail. One of his bail conditions was to not possess any weapons.
Sometime around April 9th, 2019, an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip came in that informed authorities that Christoffersen was in possession of a pellet gun that looked like a real gun. Police found Christoffersen and located the weapon. Carlos was arrested again.
Christoffersen has a criminal record, which is submitted to Her Honour for consideration regarding his sentencing.
A joint submission is put forth from both the Crown Attorney and defence which recommends that Christoffersen serve 2 years less a day for the aggravated assault. Christoffersen has been in jail for 194 real days which is enhanced to 291 day due to the deplorable conditions at the Thunder Bay District Jail. Another 60 days is recommended for the breach where he was found in possession of the weapon.
This would leave Christoffersen with about 14 months left to serve in jail. 12 months of probation is to follow his stint in the clink. Proposed probation conditions are as follows:
- Not to contact the victim.
- Attend rehabilitative programs regarding mental health issues and substance abuse issues.
Court hears that Christoffersen was born in Argentina and his family immigrated to Canada when he was a youth. His mother is in the body of the court showing support for her son. He has mental health issues and substance abuse issues. Since he was a child he was identified as having behavioural issues. When Christoffersen was 16 years old, the Children’s Aid Society gave his parents an ultimatum that they either remove Carlos from the home, or have their younger child apprehended.
When Carlos was removed from the home, the Children’s Aid Society did not provide support in terms of housing Carlos or in any other substantial way, court hears. Carlos had struggled with homelessness since.
Court hears that Christoffersen witnessed his significant other return home with a substantial injury to her thumb. She had just returned home from walking the dog and this caused Carlos to believe that someone had injured his partner. He believed this to be true. He was high on drugs at the time and that had negatively contributed to his bad decision making that day.
Christoffersen did not have any prior relationship with the victim of his machete slash.
When he was released from custody back in the spring, he engaged in numerous mental health programs and appears to have been trying to better himself. He struggled to make counselling appointments which was derailed due to personal circumstances including his housing situation.
Christoffersen was re-arrested in April of 2019 and has been in jail ever since. Court hears that he was basically in segregation for a large amount of that time. He has had severely limited access to visitation or telephone calls. Carlos said that he was only able to be outside in the yard of the jail facility 5 times since his arrest. Those 5 times were within the first few months of his incarceration. He has not been outside in months.
Jail conditions include three men to a jail cell which is only designed for 3. His mother has not been able to contact him at the jail during the last two weeks.
Court hears that Christoffersen believes his sentence should be rehabilitative in nature, such as a “Conditional Sentence Order”, which would enable him to basically be let out of jail and live on house arrest at his home. His lawyer tells the court that she informed him that the aggravated assault charge does not allow a “Conditional Sentence Order” in this matter.
Further, it is said that the victim has not provided updated medical information regarding the current status of his injury. The victim was in court around September 16th and informed the Crown Attorney that he is not able to write a “Victim Impact Statement” due to his injury and ongoing struggles around that recovery. Someone else had to write his victim impact statement for him.
Her Honour, Justice Chantal Brochu asks Christoffersen if he has anything to say. Christoffersen tells Her Honour that he feels the jail system isn’t helpful. He further indicates that more rehab centres and “stuff like that” are needed.
Her Honour reiterates the agreed statement of facts, adding that the victim is continuing to suffer from their injuries and had 38 staples in his left arm. “The injuries are of a serious nature and have put a lot of stress and anxiety on the victim in this case”.
Justice Brochu continues and acknowledges that Carlos believes rehabilitation is what he believes he needs. Further, it is acknowledges that the victim has suffered significantly and continues to suffer.
Her Honour agrees with Christoffersen that rehabilitation is needed and is a component of the principles of sentencing (described better below). But she also notes that the seriousness of this offence, the violence of this offence and the injury certainly merits a jail sentence. Denunciation and deterrence cannot be ignored in this matter.
Court hears that this jail sentence could be much longer than 2 years less a day, and that 2 years less a day is by no means a light sentence for this crime. Her Honour accepts the joint submission put forth by both the Crown Attorney and defence. Christoffersen is sentenced to 2 years less a day and is granted credit on an enhanced basis. the 194 real days he spent in jail before today is enhanced to 291 days. He is also sentenced to 60 days for the breach of bail conditions, in which he was found with a weapon.
Carlos is ordered to have his DNA submitted to the national DNA database.
He has roughly 14 months left to serve of his sentence after his time credited is added up. Christoffersen will likely be out on a statutory release from jail in roughly 6 months. His release will be followed by 12 months of probation. He is escorted by two Thunder Bay Police Service Special Constables back into the holding cells in the basement of the courthouse. He will wait there for prisoner transport back to the Thunder Bay District Jail until he is transferred out to wherever he will be doing his time.
PRINCIPLES OF SENTENCING
- Denunciation- making sure the punishment reflects society’s abhorrence for the crime committed.
- Deterrence (both specific for the accused and general for the population at large) – to reduce criminal conduct.
- Rehabilitation – to change the behaviour of an offender and reconstitute them as productive citizens.
- Protection of the public – through incarceration and/or the imposition of conditions to control the accused’s behaviour in the community and to prevent the repetition of the criminal activity.
In addition to these principles, the Criminal Code has added the principles of:
- Reparation – to repay, repair or compensate the victim or community loss and harm.
- Responsibility – for the offender to acknowledge the harm done to the victim and the community.