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Canada Appeal court judges double sentence of Nunavut man who assaulted a police officer

13:27  12 june  2018
13:27  12 june  2018 Source:

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a large empty room: Justices Myra Bielby, Sheila Greckol and Jo’Anne Strekaf delivered their decision in Iqaluit on May 15. The decision was released on June 8.© Nick Murray/CBC Justices Myra Bielby, Sheila Greckol and Jo’Anne Strekaf delivered their decision in Iqaluit on May 15. The decision was released on June 8.

A panel of judges has doubled the sentence of a man convicted of aggravated assault of a peace officer, in a Nunavut Court of Appeal decision released on Friday.

For the appeal, the Crown lawyer argued the lower court judge weighted the man's personal circumstances and rehabilitation more heavily that the sentencing principle of deterrence, which is required by the Criminal Code to be the primary consideration in deciding on the amount of jail time.

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Justice Sue Cooper sentenced 19-year-old Buddy Mala to 12 months in jail in November 2017 — nine months for the assault, plus three months for possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

The maximum sentence for assaulting an officer is 14 years per the Criminal Code. There is no mandatory minimum sentence.

The three judges increased the sentence for assault to 21 months from nine, bringing Mala's total sentence to two years less a day.

Having already completed his original sentence with help from credit for time served pre-sentencing, Mala was ordered by the court to turn himself in to serve the additional year.

Justices Myra Bielby, Sheila Greckol and Jo'Anne Strekaf delivered their decision in Iqaluit on May 15, so Mala is just shy of completing his first month of the extended sentence.

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The judges agreed with the Crown's argument that Cooper imposed jail time that was significantly less than those imposed in similar cases.

They said her sentencing decision did not adequately address the seriousness of the officer's injuries.

The officer, Constable Potty, was stabbed three times in his left arm, before he Tasered Mala and arrested him.

Not just a 'sucide by cop' attempt

Two officers had responded to a report that a man was outside a house in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut waving a gun and threatening to shoot police officers on June 11, 2017.

When they arrived, a pellet gun was on the ground outside the house and Mala yelled at the officers to shoot him, before going inside the home.

The officers followed him inside, Mala stabbed Potty once, then Potty pushed him back and tried to fire his automatic rifle, but it didn't fire correctly.

Mala then stabbed him twice more with the kitchen knife, before he was Tasered.

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Mala pleaded guilty to the two charges he was sentenced for. Justice Cooper considered that he'd recently had a brain injury, he was young and this was his first offence as mitigating factors in the initial sentencing. The stab wounds were aggravating factors.

She determined from the evidence this incident was an attempt at 'suicide by cop' and he didn't have the intention to hurt anyone else.

The Crown argued and the appeal court judges agreed that she was wrong in concluding this.

The judges also said she failed to show her thought process in how a nine month sentence could be enough to deter and denounce the offence.

They said they did not have a Gladue report, which considers the personal circumstances of Indigenous offenders in sentencing, but they assumed those factors existed when deciding on the two-year-less-a-day sentence.

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