'The accused seems to want to accumulate more dead time to count toward his sentence,' Crown says
A Sudbury prosecutor says he’s suspicious about the timing of an Espanola man’s decision to contest part of a plea agreement.
Assistant Crown attorney Kenrick Abbott made the comments after the sentencing of Jamie Corbiere, 30, was put off Thursday.
“The accused seems to want to accumulate more dead time to count toward his sentence,” Abbott said. “There was a plea that was taken on Aug. 22 and the morning it (sentencing) is supposed to go, there is a problem … The facts are admitted. The Crown is not agreeing to (the request to have the plea dropped).”
Abbott also said the Crown may take the position the sentencing delay should produce no further dead time to count towards the sentence.
Dead time refers to the time an accused spends in provincial jail waiting to be sentenced. Because there is a lack of services in provincial jail, the sentencing judge may give an offender credit for time they have spent in jail before being sentenced, according to LawFacts. This is often called pre-sentence custody, pre- trial custody or dead time, and it can be used to reduce the length of a jail sentence.
If the judge does give credit for pre-sentence custody, they may have the option of giving “enhanced credit” or “two-for-one” credit. This means that for every day the offender spent in pre-sentence custody, the judge reduces the jail sentence by two days. For example, if the judge decides that a 45-day jail sentence is appropriate, and an offender spent 15 days in jail in pre-sentence custody, the judge may reduce the sentence that they were going to impose by 30 days, making the sentence 15 days (instead of 45).
Corbiere was looking at a 42-month jail term, minus nine months of pre-trial custody, beating a man and stealing items from his apartment after the victim tried to stop him attempting to break into another apartment in Espanola on May 23.
On Aug. 22, Corbiere pleaded guilty to break and enter with intent; break, enter and theft; assault causing bodily harm; possession of stolen property; and assaulting a police officer while resisting arrest.
A Gladue report, which assists judges with sentencing options for people of First Nation heritage, was ordered to assist with sentencing.
Corbiere, who has a prior record, has remained in custody.
But on Thursday, Corbiere told his lawyer, Jacob Gauthier, he had concerns with his plea to the assaulting a police officer while resisting arrest charge, but would still go along with the proposed 42-month jail term minus pre-trial custody agreed to.
“Mr. Corbiere instructed me to speak to the Crown and strike that plea with respect to the police assault charge,” Gauthier told Ontario Court Justice John Keast.
Gauthier said in speaking to the Crown, the Crown is not willing to have that plea dropped. He then said that due to the breakdown in his relationship with his client, he asked to be removed as counsel from the case.
Keast told Gauthier he was not prepared to remove him as counsel until another lawyer came on board.
“This situation has been complicated from the beginning,” said the judge. “A large amount of work has been done by the Crown and defence … At some point, I will remove you from the record, but you can’t leave now … If you were to strike that plea, down, it could have a domino impact on what’s outstanding. I don’t know. A new counsel could might take a different position and ask for everything to be struck.”
Gauthier agreed striking that one plea “could throw everything we did to the wayside” with the case.
Keast suggested the case could head to a pre-trial meeting on another day to sort out what is going to happen. A pre-trial meeting is a closed-door meeting involving a defence lawyer, judge and representative of the Crown’s office to discuss issues in a case.
“We don’t know where we are going with this,” he said.
Abbott, the assistant Crown attorney, suggested the case be put over to video bail remand court at which time where the case is headed might be known.
“I understand Mr. Gauthier’s predicament,” he said.
Keast ordered that the case be sent to video bail remand court Dec. 13, at which time a future date for it to continue will be set.
Corbiere’s pregnant girlfriend attended his court appearance Thursday.
The court has been told that a tenant returning home noticed Corbiere attempting to break into an apartment in a Centre Street building in Espanola about 2:10 a.m. May 23. The man asked Corbiere what he was doing and old him to leave.
Corbiere responded by striking the man in the face four or five times, causing a gash to the forehead and a bloody nose.
Corbiere then dragged the dazed man into his apartment and stole a Husky knife, five rings, a money clip containing American bills and a wallet.
Espanola Police officers, who had been alerted to the initial break-in attempt by the tenant who lived there, arrested Corbiere a short time later. Corbiere, who was intoxicated, resisted arrest. He was also found in possession of the items taken from the injured tenant’s apartment.