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BACKGROUND

In October and November of 2018, three student athletes at St. Michael’s College School (“St. Michael’s”), together with another St. Michael’s student, were involved in a series of locker room incidents which resulted in charges of assault with a weapon and sexual assault with a weapon (Sections 267 and 272, respectively, of the Criminal Code).  One of the three student athletes was also charged with making child pornography (Section 163.1(2) of the Criminal Code) on the grounds that he video-recorded the sexual assault with his cell phone.

CRIMINAL CODE PROVISIONS

Assault with a Weapon

Section 267 of the Criminal Code provides:

Every person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who, in committing and assault,

a) carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation thereof,
b) causes bodily harm to the complainant, or
c) chokes, suffocates or strangles the complainant.

Sexual Assault with a Weapon

Section 272(1) of the Criminal Code states:

Every person commits an offence who, in committing a sexual assault,

(a) carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation thereof…

Making Child Pornography

Section 163.1(2) of the Criminal Code provides:

Every person who makes, prints, publishes or possess for the purpose of publication any child pornography is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year.

“Child pornography” is broadly defined by the Criminal Code and includes photographic, film, video, or other visual representation (whether or not made by electronic or mechanical means), written material, or audio recording which shows or depicts a person under the age of eighteen engaging in explicit sexual activity or has, as its dominant characteristic, a sexual purpose.

SENTENCING

Members of the St. Michael’s football team were charged with various criminal offences, stemming from three sets of allegations. 
The sentencing hearing for the student athletes was held by Justice Weagant of the Ontario Court of Justice in November 2019 in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act (“YCJA”).  Section 38(2)(c) of the YCJA requires that a sentence imposed on a youth offender be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the youth offender for that offence.

Following an extensive review of the four students’ backgrounds, psychological assessments, and pre-sentence reports, together with a victim impact statement, Justice Weagant noted fundamental principles of the YCJA, which included promoting the rehabilitation and reintegration of young persons who have committed offences (Section 3(1)(a)(ii), YCJA), diminished blameworthiness or culpability(Section 3(1)(b), YCJA), and sentencing with the dual aim of holding a young person accountable and promoting his or her rehabilitation and reintegration into society (Section 38(1), YCJA).

Justice Weagant then applied the sentencing principles of: accountability; parity (impose a sentence similar to sentences imposed in the region on similar young persons found guilty of the same offences committed in similar circumstances); proportionality; reasonable sanctions (in the circumstances); rehabilitation and reintegration; and the discretionary use of denunciation and offender deterrence.  As a result, Justice Weagant sentenced each of the three student athletes to two years of probation and thirty hours of community service.

As one of the acting lawyers, Jeff Mazin worked tirelessly for over a year, a process that included considerable disclosure review and various pretrials. Mr Mazin’s client faced 8 criminal charges stemming from 3 sets of allegations. In the end, Mr. Mazin’s client entered a guilty plea with respect to two counts, with all other charges withdrawn, resulting in a sentence of two years probation and no jail time. 

As one of the acting lawyers, Jeff Mazin worked tirelessly for over a year, a process that included considerable disclosure review and various pretrials. Mr Mazin’s client faced 8 criminal charges stemming from 3 sets of allegations. In the end, Mr. Mazin’s client entered a guilty plea with respect to two counts, with all other charges withdrawn, resulting in a sentence of two years probation and no jail time. 

For more on the outcome of the case, and sentencing hearing click here. 

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