Late one May afternoon in Markham Mr. B and Mr. H became engaged in an altercation while pulled over on the side of the road; a bit of ‘road rage’. During the argument Mr. H wound up on the ground and Mr. B struck him repeatedly on the shoulder. After the argument ended Mr. B drove away, and Mr. H contacted the police.
Police spoke with Mr. H and several witnesses at the scene, one of whom provided the police with a video of the fight they had captured on a cellphone. Roughly a half hour later police found Mr. B’s car in the parking lot of a nearby department store. He was paged to the front where he was arrested, read his right to counsel, and brought to the police station. Mr. B identified his wish to speak with duty counsel and was released from custody.
We were later retained by Mr. B to prevent this one incident from harshly labelling him as violent.
Our goal was to have the charge against Mr. B dropped. A conviction for assault can carry a punishment up to five years in prison, depending on if the Crown pursues the charge as a summary (lesser) or indictable (more serious) offence.
One of the main considerations of the Crown when pursuing criminal charges is ensuring public good. Prison time and fines are often viewed as deterrents, which ensure the public good by pushing society to avoid certain acts out of fear of punishment. But the Crown is often open to avoiding lengthy and expensive trials if an accused is willing to undertake certain forms of treatment or counselling as a show of remorse and growth.
Our strategy was to negotiate with the Crown to have the charges against Mr. B. withdrawn if he completed some form of counselling service. The Crown would be happy that some kind of outcome was given to Mr. B but that a costly trial was avoided. Mr. B would be happy that he received no criminal record, no formal criminal sanction, and would avoid a costly and uncertain trial. This outcome would be ideal for all parties involved and so this is the one we pursued.
After Mr. B completed a Road Rage program operated by the Salvation Army, we provided the Crown with proof of completion and reference letters from those who ran the program. Mr. B signed a peace bond agreeing to have no contact with the Mr. H and to avoid possessing a weapon for 12 months, and the Crown withdrew the charges. All parties involved with glad to avoid a trial and potential criminal punishment, and Mr. B was happy to put the case behind him.