Toews said to be a ‘model inmate’

Jesse Toews has become a “model inmate” and made steady progress in managing his own fits of anger, says a corrections officer at the Red Deer Remand Centre.

Jesse Toews has become a “model inmate” and made steady progress in managing his own fits of anger, says a corrections officer at the Red Deer Remand Centre.

Toews is now in the third week of a sentencing hearing for his conviction in January 2011 for sexually assaulting a 77-year-old woman. Crown prosecutors Anders Quist and Charlotte Oxford have asked Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast that Toews’s sentence include declaring him a dangerous offender, citing his criminal record as a factor.

Toews, 27, has been held in custody since turning himself in on Aug. 7, 2009, for the attack, which took place nine days earlier on a secluded pathway in the Red Deer subdivision of Glendale.

Correctional Peace Officer Thomas Robert Johnstone, who has worked at the remand centre for about 11 years, testified on Tuesday that Toews has good days and bad days, during which he becomes anxious and is subject to outbursts of anger.

Toews has learned coping mechanisms and goes voluntarily into solitary confinement when he feels his anxieties building up, said Johnstone.

In response to a question from Quist, Johnstone stated that Toews displays what he understands are symptoms of bipolar.

Red Deer psychiatrist David Abelseth, called as an expert witness, testified that Toews was seven years old when he first treated him for mood swings and anger.

Although it is an unusual course of treatment for a child so young, Abelseth said he put Toews on an anti-depressant immediately and later added anti-psychotics to control visual and audio hallucinations produced as a result of the drug.

Abelseth said he read school reports indicating that Toews has learning disabilities, but did not have an accurate description of what those entailed.

“There isn’t any question that he has some significant learning disabilities,” Abelseth testified.

While various drug treatments were prescribed to help Toews with his mood swings and hallucinations, his mother sometimes withdrew the medication while an environment of conflict at home contradicted efforts to help resolve the boy’s problems, said Abelseth.

The medications did help Toews with his mood swings, but did not appear to have any effect on his anger and anxiety issues, he said.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com