August 14th, 2018

Judge must decide fate of brothers guilty of assault after ‘horribly offensive’ racial slurs hurled at them

By Peggy Revell on October 12, 2017.

Sentencing arguments were heard Wednesday at the Medicine Hat Courthouse for two brothers involved in a barroom brawl spurred in part by racist slurs hurled in their direction.

Joseph and Raymond Cadotte each entered guilty pleas to assault causing bodily harm, with the Provincial Crown requesting a 90-day, and four- to six-month sentence for each man respectively, plus probation.

The incident isn’t a case where one side is fully innocent and attacked without provocation, said Crown, noting the “horribly offensive racist remarks” made toward the Cadottes, who are aboriginal.

Yet at the same time “we can’t just blame victims, and people have to take responsibility for their actions,” the Crown added, also noting the criminal records both have that include assaults.

According to an agreed statement of facts, shortly after midnight at a local bar in October 2015, Joseph and another man got into an argument. A fight ensued where Joseph put the man into a headlock, took him to the ground, and struck him twice in the face. Raymond intervened, ending the incident. All involved were drinking.

The man later yelled an offensive racial slur in their direction, so Joseph came around the bar and punched the man in the face, once again taking him to the floor and kicking him in the ribs. Injuries included a bloody nose, bruises, abrasions and cuts. A friend of this man attempted to intervene, at which point Raymond also joined the fray — punching him, taking him to the ground, and even breaking a chair on a table the man was underneath, causing $2,500 in damage. This man needed stitches, had a split lip, sore ribs, scrapes and bruises.

Defence counsel for Joseph requested a suspended sentence, with terms of release including counselling and other supports to “rehabilitate him so something like this doesn’t happen again.” Defence counsel for Raymond requested 90 days or less, to be served on weekends.

Both had Gladue reports and presentencing reports put together for consideration —touching upon the racism both have experienced, including being the target of racial slurs from a young age onward — and how this in part led to their reaction that night at the bar.

The reports also noted how both men are hardworking, and are remorseful for their actions and know they should have reacted differently.

The sentencing decision will take place on Nov. 8.

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