May 17th, 2024

Judge gives youthful offender a break

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on April 18, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 20-year-old Lethbridge man facing seven months in jail for his first criminal conviction as an adult, was given a break from a judge, although not as much as he hoped.
Patrick Joseph Moore had asked for a sentence of two months in jail after he pleaded guilty Tuesday in Lethbridge court of justice to one count of criminal harassment against a former girlfriend, as well as two charges of assault and a single count of assaulting a peace officer.
After some contemplation, Justice Grace Auger compromised and sentenced Moore to three months in jail, plus one year of probation.
“This is a hard one,” Auger admitted. “I’m struggling because I know you have no criminal record as an adult. But what I’m struggling with is your ex-girlfriend, about how much trauma all the calls and all the texting caused her. It caused her a great amount of fear and trauma.”
Crown Prosecutor Clayton Giles, who had recommended the longer jail sentence, told court Moore had through text messages between Aug. 24 and Sept. 10, 2023, emotionally and verbally abused his ex-girlfriend and would not leave her alone. Moore repeatedly contacted the woman despite her pleadings for him to stop, and warnings by the police.
“In fact, he was even picked up and released on a release order and nonetheless continued to persist, despite the fact he had conditions which required that he not have any contact directly or indirectly (with the woman),” Giles said.
In a victim impact statement, the woman described the impact of Moore’s repeated, denigrating harassment, and said she suffered for months from anxiety and paranoia.
“I haven’t felt safe leaving my house to go anywhere,” she wrote. “I stopped using my phone to escape the constant abuse, which led to the loss of a good portion of the only people I have in my life.
“I’m extremely burnt out and I’m experiencing several issues with physical well-being, like extreme fatigue, anorexia, insomnia, marijuana use, as well as crippling anxiety attacks anytime he messages me or something happens that triggers flashbacks of how he treats and treated me.”
The victim also wrote she fears Moore because of his close connection to people who attacked and abused her, and tried to involve her in sex trafficking. She’s also afraid she’ll be killed.
“His presence downtown makes me fear constantly that I’ll be shot dead by someone he sends after me.”
The assault charges stem from separate incidents, the first on Jan. 30 of this year involving a tenant in an apartment building in which Moore also lived. The two men became embroiled in an argument before Moore began repeatedly kicking and hitting the other man, inflicting numerous facial injuries.
Then on March 14 a cab driver picked up Moore and two other intoxicated individuals from a residence and requested they pay in advance. However, he feared they would cause trouble because of their level of intoxication and refused to transport them and refunded their fare.
Moore was upset, however, opened the driver’s door and attempted to pull the driver from the vehicle. The driver, who was still secured by the seatbelt, told police afterward that Moore threw at least 20 punches at his face, head and shoulder before he was able to get out of the car and push “the skinny kid” away and get back in the car.
Police found Moore in an alley but he ran away and had to be taken to the ground, where he attempted to strike the officer and bite him on the arm before he was subdued.
“The last belligerent act of Mr. Moore at that point in time was to say (to the officer), ‘I know what you look like you bald (expletive), I’m going to kill you,” Giles said.
Lethbridge lawyer Darcy Shurtz opposed the Crown’s recommendation for seven months in custody, and said it is too high for a young offender without a criminal record. He agreed the offences warrant time in jail, but he suggested a sentence of two months, and said rehabilitation of the young offender should be a paramount consideration in sentencing.
Shurtz explained Moore suffers from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and his mother was an abusive alcoholic while he was growing up. He began “struggling with alcohol” when he was only 14 years old, but he’s never received counselling for his addiction.
“I believe rehabilitation is a likelihood for him if he can get some help for his alcohol.”
Moore, who attended court by CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, occasionally wiped tears from his face and told the judge his criminal actions are a direct result of his drinking.
“I honestly think that if it wasn’t for drinking, I wouldn’t be here at all or have any charges,” Moore said. “I’d be at home with my kiddies and be OK.”
Auger also expressed concern about Moore’s addiction, and urged him to seek help.
“I agree drinking is wrecking your life,” Auger said.
Although sentenced to 90 days in jail, Moore was given credit for the equivalent of 51 days spent in pre-trial custody, which leaves 39 days to serve. While on probation, he must adhere to several conditions, including he be assessed and receive counselling for domestic violence and alcohol abuse.

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