Court hears two sides to assault story

Report from the last court hearings of the year in Port Hardy.

Stephen Straughan appeared in court in Port Hardy last week to plead guilty to an assault charge.

The court heard that Port McNeill RCMP responded to a report that the accused was seen by a witness striking his then partner by the ferry dock in Port McNeill.

The witness alleged that Straughan choked, hit and kicked the woman, who declined to provide testimony or a victim impact statement to the officers. The officers were able to proceed on the strength of the witness statement.

Crown informed the court that the pair had recently broken up and had been arguing over truck keys prior to the incident.

Noting the accused’s lack of a record, Crown recommended a $500 fine with one year’s probation to include counseling and a no contact order.

In the Defence’s submission, Paul Grier informed the court that the alleged victim was a crack addict and under the influence of the drug at the time of the incident.

He asked that provisions be made in the probation conditions to allow Straughan access to his one-year-old child and joint counseling.

Addressing the court, Straughan admitted responsibility but added that there was more to the story. He told the court that he and his former partner had got into an argument and she was threatening to throw the truck keys in to the ocean when he had grabbed her to try and get the keys back.

“So there was some provocation in your view?” asked the Judge. “Yes,” came the reply, “that’s no excuse though.”

In his judgement the Judge said that the accused had indeed apparently slapped and choked the victim. He noted that there was no evidence that she needed any treatment for her injuries but that the assault was “a matter not viewed with in the community with sympathy.”

He sentenced  Straughan to a day in jail, served by his presence in court, and a year’s probation.

Speeding

Dale Evans was was fined $158 for speeding contrary to highway signs near Zeballos.

The court heard from the RCMP Constable involved that Evans had been clocked at 113 km/h, in excess of the posted 110 km/h limit.

Evans argued that his truck had a governor which limited his speed to 110 km/h and that he had just passed a slower vehicle when he was clocked.

“You’ve got to speed up to pass,” he argued.

“And did you then reduce speed once you had passed?” asked the Judge.

“Yeah. I was slowing down. I’d just passed him,” replied Evans.

The RCMP officer disagreed however and told the court that he had passed by a considerable margin when the measurement was taken.

The Judge accepted the officer’s evidence and noted that “the speed, while not untoward, was over the limit.”

Murder inquiry

Dakota Dillon Johnny appeared recently in Campbell River court to set the date for a preliminary inquiry.

The Port Hardy teenager is facing a second degree murder charge in relation to the murder of Cindy Scow on Tsulquate Reserve in September.

His next appearance was set for June 24, and the 19-year-old will remain in custody until that date.

 

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