Judge scolds Crown

A judge admonished the Crown on Wednesday for failing to return criminals to court and sentence them for re-offending while still serving a suspended sentence.

A judge admonished the Crown on Wednesday for failing to return criminals to court and sentence them for re-offending while still serving a suspended sentence.

Judge David Plosz told court that rarely, if ever, had he dealt with an accused who had re-offended while serving their suspended sentence.

Plosz was reacting to a two-year suspended sentence handed out to Eric John Bogle, 20, of Red Deer, who pleaded guilty to mischief and failing to appear in court.

Plosz said a suspended sentence is issued by the court in order to help the offender.

A section in the Criminal Code of Canada authorizes the sentencing judge to suspend the passing of sentence, except where the code provides for a minimum punishment.

In such instances, the offender must be placed on probation and be subject to the conditions set forth in the probation order.

An offender who breaches a term of the probation order is liable to a charge of breach of probation.

The Crown may then apply to have the sentencing judge revoke the suspended sentence and impose any sentence that could have been imposed originally.

In any event, a suspended sentence results in a criminal record.

Plosz said if the offender runs afoul of the law, he is supposed to be brought back to court and, if convicted of the new crime, should be sentenced on the original charge.

Plosz wondered if the Crown “is just blowing smoke” when it agrees to a suspended sentence.

Chief Crown prosecutor Anders Quist responded by saying he has brought offenders in this situation back to court for sentencing.

Quist said sometimes an accused will drag out the new charge until the suspended sentence has expired.

However, Quist acknowledged the judge’s “point taken.”

Bogle received a two-year suspended sentence, which had been agreed to by the Crown and defence lawyer Lorne Goddard. Bogle was also ordered to pay restitution of $4,820 to the City of Red Deer, perform 80 hours of community service work and pay a $100 surcharge.

The court heard that Bogle was upset about being dismissed as a Collicutt Centre employee because of work-related difficulties in March 2008.

Quist said Bogle, who had just been ordered off the centre property, returned about 4:30 a.m. with an iron bar and smashed a door and windows, resulting in $4,820 damage.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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