A 25-year-old man is facing a one-year probation in direct result to assault and theft charges as well as time served for failing to attend court.
Caleb Michael Perrault-Wipp was in court Wednesday for sentencing. The charges he faced were a result of an incident that happened in the late hours of Sept. 12 and early hours Sept. 13, 2017.
Crown prosecutor Paul Battin explained that during that time, Perrault-Wipp was panhandling outside of the Qwanlin Cinema.
He asked a passerby if he could spare $25. The individual replied no and said he could give him 25 cents.
Perrault-Wipp felt he was being ridiculed and struck the individual on the head. This individual did not report any significant injury.
Not long after this, Perrault-Wipp would try to steal the purse of another individual who was not alone.
A struggle ensured, where the woman fell to the ground while trying to prevent her purse from being stolen.
The fall did result in some scraping. The victim’s companion tried to stop the struggle but to no prevail. The pair’s names cannot be released.
Perrault-Wipp would later admit his crimes to police. He said he was not feeling well and wanted the money to get a coffee and donut.
He tried asking for money, and when that didn’t work, he changed his strategy.
Battin told Judge Michael Cozens that Perrault-Wipp does suffer from mental illness.
The exact details of the defendant’s condition were not shared.
Battin said there have been no further offences, and the defendant should get credit for pleading guilty early on.
“He recognized he was wrong,” Battin said.
He argued that this quick decision saved the court’s time and money. It also saved the victims from having to testify and relive the incident.
That said, he felt there still needs to be some kind of deterrent regardless of the defendant’s circumstances, or if it was a crime of necessity or if someone had made fun of him.
“It’s not appropriate (behaviour),” Battin said.
The Crown recommended a sentence of three to five months’ probation for the assault and theft, and 15 days for failing to attend court.
Amy Steele, Perrault-Wipp’s lawyer, said her client is on social assistance. He currently gets $750 a month and often goes hungry.
He also does not know his father, but does have the support of both his mother and grandmother, the latter of whom was in court.
Steele said her client took responsibility for his actions as soon as was possible.
As for his client’s failing to attend court, she explained that Perrault-Wipp does have some trouble with memory, specifically mentioning remembering dates. She said he’s had help on that issue.
Steele said her client doesn’t want to go to jail, but would rather be on probation. He has evey intention to follow the probation term.
She felt six to 12 months’ probation would be appropriate.
Steele said she hopes the probation supervisor would use some latitude due to her client’s mental difficulties.
She felt that weekly reports to the supervisor might be too excessive. As for possible community service, she said Perrault-Wipp wants to do that.
“He is interested in working,” she said.
Cozens said he understood that Perrault-Wipp regrets his actions. Based on his light criminal record, the judge said, he could see this was not his normal behaviour.
He got the impression that Perrault-Wipp was trying the best he could to survive in his situation.
That being said, the judge pointed out that are other ways to deal with difficult times. He asked the defendant if he had, in fact, learned a lesson. Perrault-Wipp said he had.
Cozens said Perrault-Wipp had a support system around him.
His grandmother is willing to help him at any time of the day. The judge also directed him to organizations like the Salvation Army which can help him when in need.
As for the sentencing, Cozens was troubled. He struggled with how to enact a punishment that took into account Perrault-Wipp’s issues as well as the demonstrated sense of remorse.
“This is a difficult sentencing,” he said.
He said the case law is clear, and there needs to be caution when dealing with mental illness and jail. He did not think jail would be appropriate, and felt this needed to be dealt with in a more creative way. He said he did not want to set up Perrault-Wipp to fail.
With that reasoning, the sentence was one year’s probation.
Perrault-Wipp would get credit for time served in late December 2017 on his failing to appear. This included 17 days’ and 10 days’ credit, both being served concurrently.
Probation terms included keeping the peace, attending all court dates, and informing his probation supervisor of any change of address, job, school attendance, use of medication. As well, he is to have no contact with any of the victims.
Perrault-Wipp had to report to his probation supervisor after court Wednesday.
Cozens ordered him to also authorize the supervisor to have contact with his grandmother, who will help him remember court dates and other important appointments.
Cozens debated instituting a curfew, but later decided against it. Battin argued a curfew was not necessary and felt that Perrault-Wipp should only have to report to his probation officer once a month.
Cozens’ sentence included 10 hours of community work. He said education programming will count. He also ordered Perrault-Wipp to find a job.
There was also a victim fines surcharge of $300. Cozens granted time totalling 18 months to pay.
If more time is needed, the judge said, Perrault-Wipp could return to court and ask for an extension.