R v. J.M. | Examples Of Favourable Verdicts

ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN

V.

JULIE MILGAARD

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BEFORE THE HONOURABLE JUSTICE P. TAYLOR
on November 26, 2004

Appearances:
D. Aaron – counsel for the Crown
T. Pain – counsel for the Accused

THE COURT: Julie Milgaard entered a plea of guilty before me on the 24th of September. The matter had been judicially pre-tried by me a few days before.

The facts are that while she was intoxicated she began yelling at her son, Barry, and ultimately hit Barrie. It’s a fact pattern that unfortunately is repeated all too often in our community. What made Ms. Milgaard’s situation different was that she almost immediately began to affect positive change to prevent a repetition of the behaviour.

The principles of sentencing in Canada are codified in s.718 of the Criminal Code. They indicate that “The fundamental purpose of sentencing is to contribute, along with crime prevention initiatives, to respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful, and safe society by imposing just sanctions that have one or more of the following objectives:
a) to denounce the conduct;
b) to deter the offender and others;
c) to separate offenders from society, where necessary;
d) to assist in rehabilitating offenders.”

The blend of those particular principles depends on the unique facts of the case, the circumstances which gave rise to it, the accused’s antecedents, and their efforts towards rehabilitation.

Ms. Milgaard appears to hav done everything in her power to rehabilitate herself, and it appears from the information I received from the Crown, and the fact that her partner is here in court, and her son is here, that they find that he’s affecting change.

As I’m required to do by law, I asked Ms. Milgaard if she had anything to say at the time of sentencing. The response from individual accuseds varies. Often an accused person has nothing to say, and they can’t be criticized for that. Often people are very nervous. They may not be particularly articulate. They simply can’t say anything.

Another large group of individuals apologize to the Court. While the Court accepts the apology, it goes without saying, it’s needless. There’s no need to apologize to the Court. The Court’s function is to deal with these types of issues, and a very small percentage of the individuals, they turn to the victim and apologize to the victim, because at the end of the day, that’s who they should be apologizing to. That’s what Ms. Milgaard did.

Under the circumstances, I find the joint submission is entirely appropriate. The Information will be endorsed two days pre-sentence custody. You will be granted a conditional discharge, and placed on probation for 12 months. The conditions of your probation, Ms. Milgaard, first of all the mandatory terms. These are on every probation order. You’ll keep the peace and be of good behaviour. You’ll appear before the Court when required to do so. You’ll notify the Court or probation of any change of name, address, occupation, or employment. The additional terms are as follows:
– you’ll report in person to a probation officer, and remain under the supervision of a probation officer.
– you’ll abstain from owning, possessing or carrying any weapon except as may be necessary for the purposes of your employment.
– you’ll attend and actively participate in counselling programs for alcoholism anger management, parenting skills, as recommended by your probation officer, and
– you’ll sign any necessary releases so that probation can confirm your participation in any counselling or treatment programs.

Given that you spent two days in pre-sentence custody, and have made great strides towards your rehabilitation, I’m waiving the victim fine surcharge.

Without wishing to put a damper on what’s happening, but just I think it’s appropriate to make a cautionary remark. At this stage you are rehabilitating yourself, and you are packed with support. You’re going to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. You’re getting the counselling through the Employee Assistance Program. The real danger comes not today, not tomorrow, it comes six months, nine months, a year down the road. Common human experience indicates to us that when we’re in the throes of a crisis we react. It’s what happens down the road that matters. So that six months from now, a year from now, two years from now, remember what’s happened, and go back to the supports that are there for you.

So, I wish you good luck, Ms. Milgaard. The remaining charge is withdrawn?

MS. AARON: Yes, please, Your Honour.
THE COURT: Thank you.
MR. PAIN: Thank you, Your Honour, I thank my friend as well.

Click to read J.M.’s testimonial

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