Woman arrested again following emails targeting MPP Lisa MacLeod

Rebecca Reid was arrested Feb. 4 and has been charged with uttering threats to cause bodily harm and breach of probation.

Rebecca Reid, seen here in a file photo from last September, was arrested Feb. 4 and charged with uttering threats of bodily harm and breach of probation. Errol McGihon / Postmedia

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Rebecca Reid, the Ottawa woman convicted of threatening and harassing MPP Lisa MacLeod last year, has been arrested again and is facing more charges following another series of unsettling emails targeting the cabinet minister.

“Do you know how hard it is for me not to get a bat and beat her face?” Reid wrote in a Jan. 31 email to provincial government offices.

“I’m seeing images of her dead eyes again.”

The mother of a severely autistic boy, Reid has long directed her anger over the government’s autism strategy towards MacLeod, now Ontario’s minister of tourism, culture and sport.

Reid pleaded guilty to criminal harassment and uttering threats last summer and was spared jail. The judge gave her probation — including an order to leave MacLeod alone — and a 10-year weapons ban.

In a Jan. 31 email, Reid said: “My weapons ban may expire right around the time I have to institutionalize my son. If that happens because we don’t have enough support and my son didn’t get needs-based therapy, I swear I will take out my rage on MacLeod.”

“I want to go full-blown terrorist,” Reid threatened in an email dated Feb 3.

Reid, 42, was arrested the next day and spent three nights in jail before she was granted bail.

She has been charged with uttering threats to cause bodily harm against MacLeod and breach of probation.

In a statement from the office of Premier Doug Ford on Saturday, a spokesperson said violence and aggression towards any MPP would not be tolerated.

“Minister MacLeod and her family deserve to feel safe and protected. She has dedicated a decade and a half of her life to bettering her city and our province. Targeted harassment and threats are unacceptable in public discourse and this case is no different,” the statement said.

Lisa MacLeod, an Ottawa-area MPP and Ontario’s minister of tourism, culture and sport. Dave Abel / Postmedia

Reid’s threats last year prompted police protection for MacLeod at public events.

In one of the 2019 emails, Reid said the prospect of jail was the only thing holding her back from murder.

Her defence lawyer, Oliver Abergel, declined comment on Saturday regarding the latest set of charges.

During a sentencing hearing last year, Abergel had told court Reid would never harm MacLeod.

“She was overwhelmed, and she would not place her son in jeopardy by harming Ms. MacLeod or anyone else.”

Assistant Crown Attorney Meaghan Cunningham told the sentencing hearing that the “vulgar, vicious and deeply personal” threats had a “significant impact” on MacLeod.

Rebecca Reid was sentenced to probation and a 10-year weapons ban in 2019. Errol McGihon / Postmedia

Reid had made several phone calls to MacLeod’s office and sent more than 100 emails even after Ottawa police warned her to stop. 

“If murder wasn’t illegal, she would be dead by now. Because I would kill her,” Reid said in one of several phone calls placed Feb. 13. “The only thing stopping me from doing it is jail.”

Her defence lawyer agreed the threats had been frightening and unsettling, but said they were made amid Reid’s “exhaustion, depression, feelings of futility and mental illness.”

In an assessment referenced in court, a doctor wrote that Reid’s mental state at the time would have had a “direct impact on how she perceived information … and news of the funding cuts would have had a greater impact on her than on someone not facing her challenges.”

“It was not a cold, calculated play … She felt her son’s life was ruined, she was increasingly traumatized and spinning out of control. This woman was in a crisis,” Abergel told court in September.

Ontario Court Justice Norm Boxall told court at the time that Reid’s threats had crossed the line.

“You can put a lot of political pressure on their conscience (when criticizing public officials),” Boxall said. “It breaks down if you go to threats. Elected officials are entitled to that (protection).”

If not for Reid’s struggles, the judge said, she would have faced a more severe penalty.

gdimmock@postmedia.com

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