London killer nightclub manager seeks to serve remainder of his sentence at home

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He didn’t apologize and easily said to the judge, “I definitely had some hiccups. “

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But after spending a quarter of his life in murder custody, the 21-year-old said every experience and every misstep has been a chance for him to grow and mature.

“I would just ask you to take this into consideration and see it as a stepping stone and try to move forward,” he politely told Superior Court Judge Marc Garson on Tuesday morning at the meeting. a remote appearance from his open youth detention center.

The man, whose identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, has appeared for his third review of his sentence for second degree murder and, this time, he wants to return home.

He won’t know until Monday, when Garson is expected to render his decision to allow the man to serve the remainder of his sentence under conditions at his family home or if he will have to wait a little longer at his open custody facility. .

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Dressed in a turtleneck and glasses, he appears to be a much different person than he was on September 6, 2015, when he shot dead Londoner Steve Sinclair, 49, in a night club parking lot from the east. Sinclair ran.

Sinclair, a sheet metal worker with close family ties and a connection to the Gatekeepers motorcycle club, has been shot and killed three times by the man, then just 15, who said during his trial he was sent from his hometown of Hamilton to injure Sinclair by shooting him. in the legs.

He was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to seven years, the maximum allowed for someone so young. Four years were to be served in a closed environment and three more in an open environment.

Her stay in closed custody at Sprucedale Youth Detention Facility near Simcoe lasted 5.5 years. He was transferred to open custody in March, as ordered by Garson a year ago during the man’s last detention review.

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By this time, Garson was convinced the man had gone from a teenage criminal to someone ready to change their life. His involvement in an assault early in his sentence, as well as some arguments with staff had prevented him from moving into open custody earlier.

With about a year to serve, the man’s defense attorney Tyler MacDonald asked that the remainder be converted into a conditional supervision order that would allow him to move home and continue his post-secondary education.

Like the rest of society, human life has been deeply affected by the pandemic. In his case, that meant that his open custody, which should have allowed him more freedoms, was not much different from his life in Sprucedale.

He’s been in school since September – and took student loans to pay it off – but couldn’t enroll earlier. Pandemic protocols have kept him confined to the facility where he was often the only inmate and where recreational activities are limited, except for walks with staff and a small basketball court.

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He was not allowed to visit his family to avoid any risk of the virus spreading.

He’s taken classes in person, but some are online and there is limited Wi-Fi around the facility. He remains a mentor and leader to others and has volunteered to help with household chores and housekeeping.

“(The man) has shown steady progress, but due to COVID-19 open custody has not been exactly the productive medium between closed custody and conditional supervision which I think we all thought was. it would be, ”MacDonald said.

MacDonald said that part of the sentence “has served its purpose” and that “the focus should now be on reintegration and ongoing rehabilitation which is best accomplished under conditional supervision, for which I think (the man) has shown that he is ready “.

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But not everything was smooth. The man was involved in a fight where both sides took responsibility and he had arguments with the staff. More disturbing were the phone calls he said came from a cousin when he was actually talking to someone who was not authorized to call.

McDonald said if Garson allowed him to return home, where he has a job awaiting him and where he will only be minutes away from school, he would still be on court-ordered conditions for keep it under surveillance, like a curfew.

“What we can see is that (the man) has a good house to return to, he has a family of people engaged in productive activities who are ready to welcome him and prepare him for success,” he said. MacDonald said.

“There are four pillars that (he) needs for a productive and balanced life: work, schooling, leisure and family, and under conditional supervision he can fully embrace and rely on these four.”

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Even though the man has an impressive progress report, the missteps troubled Assistant Crown Attorney James Spangenberg, especially the phone calls which were not a momentary error in judgment.

“What is most disturbing is that he is reaching out to someone he shouldn’t be and one of the concerns I have always expressed is that (the man) is he’s released into the community… will go back to his previous way of life, “he said.

Spangenberg said he was not opposed to open custody “but not at the moment…. He has to appear before this tribunal with a complete and blank file and, but for these two faults, he is there.

He suggested the man could apply for reinstatement clearances at the facility and return to court in six months for a further review of his conduct.

MacDonald noted that the man has made similar requests since arriving at the open custody facility, but they were all turned down due to the pandemic.

The case returns to court for a decision on Monday.

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