Man guilty in online harassment of ex-wife

VANCOUVER — A man accused of trying to emotionally ruin the life of his ex-wife using online posts showed little emotion as a B.C. Supreme Court jury declared him guilty of criminal harassment on Wednesday.

The court heard Patrick Fox’s tactics included threatening emails, blog postings and a website aimed at Desiree Capuano.

Crown attorney Mark Myhre told the trial Fox’s hatred for Capuano was so intense he used their teenage son as a pawn, reading to the jury a number of emails sent in which Fox declared that his goal was to “destroy” Capuano’s life.

Myhre outlined 10 ways in which Fox’s actions constituted criminal harassment of Capuano, saying Fox falsely maligned her as a white supremacist, a child abuser and a drug user in the blog that was purportedly written by Capuano.

Capuano, who is American and lives in Arizona, was not in court to hear the verdict and when reached by phone she didn’t want to comment, saying she needed time absorb the verdict.

A sentencing hearing has not been set and the Crown asked the court to first conduct a psychiatric evaluation of Fox.

Myhre told the judge after the verdict that information Fox posted on the harassing website — which remains online — can be interpreted as “hyperbole” but also “delusional” and it appears Fox believes the allegations he has written, although they are not factual.

He said a psychiatric evaluation would help inform “how to keep Ms. Capuano harassment-free going forward to the extent possible with court orders and treatment if necessary.”

A psychiatric evaluation through a pre-sentencing report could take six to eight weeks to complete.

Defence counsel Tony Lagemaat objected, saying Fox was against delaying sentencing for that amount of time.

Justice Heather Holmes instructed the Crown to find an alternate way for the courts to order the evaluation that would not take as long, which Fox said he would consent to. A decision on how to proceed will be made Thursday.

The jury, which began its deliberations on Tuesday, also found Fox guilty of a firearms offence.

The court heard four handguns were found inside a computer in a box that Fox had shipped to a California address from Burnaby, B.C.

Fox told the court the firearms seized at his friend’s house in Los Angeles may have merely been placed in an empty box that was put in a closet and that he would not have intentionally caused problems for his friend.

In February 2016, Capuano went to the media about the harassment she faced after the Crown decided not to lay charges. Shortly after, the provincial justice minister at the time said the Crown’s decision to approve charges could be reviewed if police provided additional evidence.

Fox was charged four months later.

Jurors heard the pair was embroiled in a custody battle over their son and the boy’s demeanour changed after returning to Arizona from a visit with his father. The court heard the boy spent much of his time in his bedroom and disengaged from his family.

His defence lawyer told the jury in closing arguments that the two were engaged in a nasty game in which they taunted each other by email, adding that Capuano didn’t seem to fear Fox because she had initiated an email chain despite telling him to stop emailing her.

Lagemaat said Capuano provoked his client by calling him names and saying he had a “sick fixation” on her.

“She’s throwing out the insults as well as she’s taking,” Lagemaat said.

“You might not like the words Mr. Fox uses or that he’s posted them to a website. That alone is not an offence,” he told the jury.

Linda Givetash, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

WATCH: From humble beginnings Red Deer-based wrestling promotion is growing

It wasn’t that long ago that Dylon Featherstone and the Canadian Wrestling… Continue reading

Popular Red Deer store to apply for cannabis dealer licence

At least one Red Deer store hopes to sell cannabis out of… Continue reading

Effect of electronics on students to be discussed at Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention

Thousands of area instructors will gather on Feb. 22 and 23 at RDC

Latest Red Deer Hospital Lottery launched

Ticket purchases opened on Friday

WATCH: Day-long hockey game at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School in Red Deer

An all-day hockey game was held at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School Friday

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

WATCH: Cat yoga — the purr-fect de-stresser, says Red Deer-area cafe owner

Felines and humans stretch together each month at Alley Cat Cafe

Effect of electronics on students to be discussed at Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention

Thousands of area instructors will gather on Feb. 22 and 23 at RDC

Judge critical of sentencing laws

Court of Queen’s Bench justice argues sentencing options for first-degree murder too limited

Liberals write off $200 million in student loans feds will never collect

The federal government is writing off more than $200 million in outstanding… Continue reading

Trudeau takes wing on trade mission to India, where Sikh politics loom

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to India,… Continue reading

Judge: Parole for triple-murderers based on many factors

Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank could have faced life in prison with no parole for 75 years for the Castor-area murders

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month