Teen sentenced for Facebook threats
A short course in anarchy was included in sentencing of a teenager who had threatened to open fire at two Red Deer high schools.
The 16-year-old boy, whose name is withheld under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was arrested and charged on April 4 by Red Deer RCMP following up on information from the Calgary Police Service. Officers there had learned that a youth had talked on Facebook social networking site about opening fire at the Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive and Hunting Hills High Schools in Red Deer.
Sentencing submissions were heard on Thursday for the teen, who pleaded guilty before Judge David Plosz in Red Deer provincial court on June 13 to uttering threats, possession of a small amount of marijuana and breaching conditions of probation.
Crown prosecutor Jason Snider said the boy had been a student at Lindsay Thurber and was barred from attending the school over disciplinary issues late in 2012.
RCMP following up on the Facebook threats found no firearms in his home, so there is some doubt about his ability to carry out his threat, said Snider.
However, Plosz expressed concern as he was passing sentence about some statements in the first of two pre-sentencing reports prepared by the boy’s probation officer.
Plosz cited a section in which the boy said he supported anarchy and wanted to live in a world where he could do his own thing.
He asked the boy if he wanted to live in a country ruled by warlords, where there are no laws and no one to protect him.
People immigrate to Canada from places like Somalia and Afghanistan because, regardless of the cold weather, they want to live in a better world, said Plosz.
He also discussed information from the pre-sentencing report indicating that the boy’s parents were using marijuana, stating that the home is the first place of learning for all children.
The boy’s father replied that he had struggled with his own addictions and had been clean for the past two months.
The boy said he has had a change of attitude during his time in remand and had taken part in addictions programs and counselling, as well as completing a portion of the community service hours ordered in his previous sentence.
“I was going through a punk rock phase. Honestly, I’ve grown up since then,” he told the judge.
After considering a joint sentencing recommendation by Snider and defence counsel Patrick Penny, Plosz sentenced the boy to 117 days in custody for the time he has already served in remand, to be followed by 58 days of mandatory supervision required under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
He also ordered that the boy complete the existing probation period, which expires in September 2014, and added a probation period of 16 months, to be served concurrently.
A second set of charges laid in connection with unrelated allegations was withdrawn at the Crown’s request. Snider said the boy was charged with offences including sexual assault, overcoming resistance and breaching probation. However, the complainant quit co-operating with police and it has become apparent that the alleged incident may not have occurred, he said.