Downtown Winnipeg: Personality sketches iii

This is the third in a series of sporadic reports about criminally-involved people who habitually inhabit and wander downtown Winnipeg.

There’s a lot more to them and their lives than I’d bet most care to realize.

These are true stories. 

“He stated that he is “a city boy” and will remain in the City of Winnipeg.” 

It wasn’t until only recently that C found out how old he was.

He made the discovery after a prison guard read the 41-year-old his date of birth off a corrections report.

But then, C’s ignorance about what are (to many people) simply routine facts of life maybe shouldn’t be all that surprising from a man who says his mother consumed so much liquor, solvents and hand-sanitizer that he was “drunk at birth.”

He hasn’t heard from her in three years.

Dad — his namesake — was only introduced to him for the first time at age 16 during a chance encounter at the Manwin Hotel.

Dad is blind in one eye because of the amount he drank. He and C don’t keep in touch.

Accounts of how C’s made-in-Winnipeg journey led him to a federal prison cell for the next six years vary even when recounted by him.

“Confirming the account of his life is difficult as he has disjointed thinking which he accounts to his FASD,” a report states.

But it’s safe to say that since he was 9, C’s been largely ‘living off the land,’ as it were.

That is, wandering Winnipeg neighbourhoods on foot, with the Main Street strip — and its characters and dangers and urban angels — being the constant backdrop of C’s public life, mostly lived on the streets.

He had to grow up fast, he says.

 “I know know from the age of 7 to 40 on Main Street there was only pain and suffering,” he said in a recent letter to a probation officer. “When I was 8-9 year of age I felt like I was 15-16 year already. I know it sounds nuts but that part of my life.” (sic)

Then there’s also the good chunk of time C has spent occupying space in provincial and federal jail cells, youth and adult, over the years.

In his fourth decade, the FASD-diagnosed Salteaux/Cree man finds himself HIV-positive, recovering from a recent gall bladder infection that nearly killed him and a blood clot in his lung.

He’s also been labeled a convicted sex offender who took damaging advantage of a young relative introduced to him at a medical clinic in 2008.

He’s assessed at a very high risk to reoffend.

C was recently convicted of aggravated sexual assault after impregnating his 14-year-old, drug-addicted and CFS-involved niece during a 2.5 month-long criminal “arrangement.”

The two would share needles and he’d ply the girl with pills, booze and cash in exchange for sex.

C says he thought of the girl as “a stranger” and was so intoxicated for the entire year that he didn’t remember abusing her. He told a report writer he didn’t have a full understanding of the court proceedings, and had hoped to get a sentence of “time served.”

C’s criminal record is somewhat storied at this point, having amassed more than 40 convictions over his lifetime.

The vast majority of them, however, relate to his street-assimilated “trade” (his word) of “boosting” (stealing) other people’s stuff and reselling it for cash.

But when you’re 9 years old and already living on the streets — likely still bruised and broken from being frequently beaten by a stepdad’s belt and mom’s broomstick, you do what you gotta do.

Simply surviving could be said to be a daily miracle.

Reporting the domestic abuse did him no good, he says. He was “slapped in the face and discredited.” When the violence was directed at his sisters, he tried to step in and was beaten for that, too.

“He was consistently told that he was ugly, wasn’t wanted and that he should’t have been born, which led to suicidal thoughts,” he told his PO.

His six step-sisters each turned to the sex trade. His nine step brothers haven’t fared much better, with many also being locked up — at least one for murder.

By age 8, C’s already thinking of killing himself.

But C? He’s a survivor.

And he says he found at least some safe harbour from the very people who had once likely been mired in similar circumstances as he then found himself.

“He was helped out by various prostitutes and drug dealers who showed him how to live and survive in the elements of Winnipeg. He had people who showed him how to deal drugs and make money ‘boosting’ goods to sell to others.”

He also made some cash by working as a casual at a scrap yard — an arrangement that continued into his 30s.

So that’s what he did. Life on the streets, year after year. The grind.

Somehow, C managed to complete Grade 8.

At 16, CFS punted him to an independent living program and he just stopped going.

He was often kicked out of school for fighting and once — in elementary — expelled for stabbing a classmate with a pencil.

C’s first sexual experience also came at age 9, the same year he started doing drugs, eventually developing a problem with Talwin and Ritalin.

His partner was a 21-year-old prostitute with whom he somehow wound up staying with.

He says they had sex after she gave him a bath one day.

“He reported feeling weird, but believed he was “the man” as he heard people talking about sex but wasn’t sure what it was,” according to a provincial report. “He questions why people make a big deal about it.”

Other sex partners over the years included sex-trade workers, one of whom C married.

A report states they had “up to” four children, all now wards of CFS.

The five-year marriage, as one might imagine, was destructive.

“Their time together was barely a relationship as she was a prostitute that used intravenous drugs, ingested solvents and drank.” As for his part, C admits he often “hid in beer.”

It was his wife who gave him HIV.

She ultimately left him after he was jailed on a prior conviction.

His lineage hails from a reserve north of Regina, but he’s only been there once in his life — for a funeral.

He says he has found some solace with a North End mission, who’s executive director he describes as being “like a mother to him.”

He has expressed hope to change with the help of community groups he’s come in contact with in recent years.

C says he has no connection to his aboriginal heritage. He has no plans to return to his home community when he gets out of prison. That’s his choice.

That leaves us pretty much back exactly where we started.

“The subject enjoys traveling around the city, exploring different neighbourhoods. He presented how this allows him an understanding of how he thinks and other people’s journeys. He commented how he is trying to leave his criminal life of boosting things to sell others behind him.”

 “He stated that he is “a city boy” and will remain in the City of Winnipeg.”

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SHAWN LAMB: Where does the buck stop in Manitoba Justice?

(Carolyn Sinclair, one of Lamb’s alleged victims)

After having a couple of days now to be immersed in the information on suspected city serial murderer Shawn Cameron Lamb, there’s still so many more questions than answers.

And it’s not the usual questions eating away at me.

For me, and I admit it’s really gotten under my skin, the number one thing that’s been eating away at my mind is:

Why was Lamb free prior to the full expiry of his 19-month jail sentence (from May 26, 2010).

He served only 13 of the months despite his horrendous record.

But more importantly:

Why was a provincial judge’s order regarding how Lamb’s sentence should be served either totally ignored or at least countermanded by Manitoba Corrections?

It’s a little convoluted, but please bear with me – the context is uber-important.

In January 2009, Lamb got a major break from Judge Wanda Garreck: an 18-month long conditional sentence and three years of probation (supervised) for an attempted robbery of a mom who simply happened to be in the area pushing her baby near where Lamb was smoking crack.

As it’s often touted, a CSO is “a jail sentence” where a criminal is allowed to serve it in the community, usually tied to several stringent conditions which are supposed to be supervised and enforced by a “sentence supervisor” and probation officers.

Breaching CSO conditions is supposed to lead to immediate rearrest and incarceration and the possibility of having the remainder of the CSO terminated and turned into real jail time in a real locked jail.

Some of Lamb’s CSO conditions included: mandatory counselling, mandatory residential rehab, Narcotics and Alcoholics anonymous provisions, 100 hours of community service, no drugs, no drinking, seeking and maintaining employment or schooling, medical or psychiatric treatment as directed.

Most importantly, it included a strict curfew, structured as follows:

First 6 months: Absolute. 24-7 curfew.

Second 6 months: 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Third 6 months: 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

So. Lamb walks out of the Remand that day and roughly a week later is re-involved, or as the Crown put it: “He gets right back to work.”

Lamb swipes a Ford Taurus from a banquet hall and then forges signatures on 9 cheques stolen from inside the vehicle. He’s not arrested right away because police didn’t immediately recognize him on surveillance tapes.

He’s not arrested until April 2009, not until after he’s committed two “opportunistic” violent robberies and admits he’s been using crack while out on his conditional release.

Anyhow, he sits in jail for 13.5 months until that fateful day when Lamb appears before Judge Linda Giesbrecht on May 26, 2010.

She’s told of his horrendous record, the facts of his slew of crimes and given a complete breakdown of how many violent convictions he’s had.

Giesbrecht said Lamb’s rap sheet was “coming very close” to the worst she’d ever seen.

Lamb, when given the opportunity, goes on an extremely lengthy tirade about how he’s changed, the steps he’s taken to correct his life; that he was “doomed to fail” when he was granted the CSO in 2009 because things didn’t immediately fall in place for him as expected.

He’s taken responsibility and doesn’t want to hurt anyone any more, he says.

(Remember, Lamb’s been in front of 45 or more sentencing judges since 1976. He’s old hat at how things work by now.)

A joint recommendation for a sentence is proposed, and accepted for guilty pleas to 16 charges.

The sentence was: 13.5 months of time-served at double time credit (27 months), 19 months going forward, and an order that the remaining months of the previous conditional sentence (Y’know, the one he totally breached within a week or so of being out on it) would not start up again until he was released from jail on the new 19-month term. 

Importantly, the Crown stayed an allegation he breached the conditional sentence order. This is key. The CSO was not converted into jail time.

It was simply suspended — held “in abeyance” is how it was put in court. There was discussion between the lawyers as to whether this was the case, and it was agreed: The clock on the CSO stopped ticking when he was rearrested and was not completed.

In pronouncing Lamb’s sentence, Giesbrecht couldn’t have been more direct as to her wishes.

“It’s clear when you’re released the conditional sentence — whatever’s left of that — starts up, and that will be a considerable restriction on your liberty,” she said. “There’s going to be lots of help for you in the community when you’re released.”

She repeated same a few minutes later:

“That (CSO) will not run while you continue to serve your 19-month sentence … and whatever is remaining (13-14 months) will continue to run after you’re released for your 19-month sentence.”

But it didn’t. The province confirmed as much on Tuesday.

Seemingly adding insult to injury, Lamb — despite his extensive record of giving his middle finger to the law — still got automatic “earned remission,” and had six months lopped off his jail time.

So much for community supervision. So much for Giesbrecht’s ruling.

I asked the province the following prior to writing on this in Wednesday’s Winnipeg Sun.

“Just wondering about that request I asked for on Shawn Lamb’s release date last year?
Also, is there a chance I could please speak with someone in corrections about this case?
Upon his release last year, Lamb was supposed to have completed the remainder of an 18 month conditional sentence handed to him in January 2009 (he was rearrested a few months (after)  it started and held in abayance until his 2010 sentence was complete.
Wondering if that’s the case here.”

Here’s the two sentence response I got:

LAMB was released on June 24, 2011 (including 27 months of remand credit).
On the question of serving out the Conditional sentence order – for all intents and purposes the conditional sentence was satisfied, including the period of incarceration, so it had been served and all conditions and requirements had been met when he was released on June 24, 2011.

My request to speak with an official in corrections was not addressed.

(To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be. For the largest department in Manitoba Justice, you strangely seldom hear a scurrying word about their operations.)

Justice Minister Andrew Swan wouldn’t comment when asked about Lamb’s early release, citing the start of the criminal prosecution and ongoing police investigation.

I’d ask you to note how this issue really has nothing, except very tangentially, to do with the murder or sexual assault allegations Lamb now faces.

It does, however, have everything to do with where the buck stops in Manitoba’s justice system.

The only way I can see to put it is like this: A judge’s order regarding how best to sentence Lamb was either disobeyed, ignored or countermanded by corrections officials. 

I don’t know who allows the department to do this.

The public expects that a judge’s decision is final and should be obeyed.

If a Manitoba Justice department doesn’t seem to take judges’ rulings on sentences seriously, why should criminals? Why should you or I?

I expect that a judge’s decision be respected and followed as it was directed.

In this serious case, it wasn’t. We don’t know if Lamb took the mandatory rehab and psychological programming. Did he complete the 100 hours of community service? We don’t know.

We’re not really allowed to know and it’s ridiculous.

And I think we all deserve answers what happened here.

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Defending the indefensible

(Sun News Network)

Our nation’s system of justice is stronger because of defence lawyers like Evan Roitenberg.

Yes, that’s bound to be an unpopular viewpoint, especially today.

But that’s the truth, as uncomfortable or inconvenient as it may seem.

Because it’s also equally true (however unheralded or swept under the rug) that each person in Canada — no matter how justifiably vilified, loathed or downright nasty their conduct  — has the right to be represented and defended to the lengths the law will allow.

Although I personally have never been, nor plan to be, in such a position, I’m glad for this.

As we all should be.

Roitenberg (if you don’t know by now) is the defence lawyer for disgraced hockey coach Graham James.

The facts disclosed by the Crown at James’ sentencing hearing Wednesday regarding his abusive and reprehensible treatment of Theo Fleury and his cousin Todd Holt years ago were difficult to hear.

After years now of observing and writing about all manner of serious and sick crime of all kinds, Wednesday’s hours-long hearing was, in part, a cut above when one considers the depth of the described betrayal.

James’ conduct was and is indefensible on any level.

Cries for him to be locked up for a long time have reverberated loudly.

The Crown has requested he serve six years of prison.

Roitenberg, as all expected, sees things differently.

He spent hours Wednesday explaining to Judge Catherine Carlson why that is; why he feels the law should grant James a conditional sentence to be served in the community of 18 months or less.

Roitenberg, a skilled public speaker with a clear flair for rhetoric, rose to speak after James himself delivered a carefully-prepared apology from the prisoner’s box.

Here’s a taste of his first few minutes of submissions Wednesday, verbatim.

“Your Honour, if it were up to Graham James, that would be it … he would throw himself on the mercy of your Honour — recognizing the depth of his actions, recognizing the effect of his actions and recognizing how wrong he was,” he started.

“But Mr. James was foolish enough to hire me, and I can’t allow him to do that,” he said.

“Because his crimes, regardless of the insight that he recognizes now, have legal repercussions. And it’s not just for him to say, ‘I know I was wrong and I accept what the court will bring.'”

“And in that vein, I’m hoping to persuade you this afternoon, that the Crown’s submission as to what would be the appropriate and just disposition here is anything but appropriate and just. I’m hoping to persuade you that if a court in Alberta some 15 years ago had all the facts, the principles of totality would have kicked in. They would have kicked in to a certain degree as would factors as they pertain to rehabilitation and restoration.”

“The man who stands before you today stands before you rehabilitated as far as anybody could be having done whatever was asked of him for a number of years, to develop the insights that he now has. To have put in place strategies to ensure he doesn’t put himself in a situation where he’s tempted to offend, strategies that take away the temptation to offend, and insights to allow him to channel his energies otherwise.

“Because that’s all been accomplished already,” he said.

“But to do that, I have to tell you some things about Graham James. I want to share with you the man, because with the greatest of respect — having sat here all morning and having been Mr. James’ counsel for some two years now or so, I can tell you it’s like representing young women in Salem, Massachusetts centuries ago who were wrongly accused of being witches.

“Because there’s really nothing in many people’s eyes that I can say today that will change their opinion of Graham James. There’s very little I can do to dispel the myths and the notoriety of the monstrous nature of the beast that has been built up in many people’s eyes. But I can’t do that. I don’t have to do that.

“My task is to enlighten one jurist.”

And there’s the rub, that sharpened point — one, I’m sure, causes countless law-abiding citizens to gnash their teeth in frustration and take to the comment sections on news websites in droves.

The hard truth is it matters not what people think of Graham James, what they may want to see happen come his March 20 day of reckoning; what punishment they feel befits his despicable conduct.

It matters what Carlson thinks. It matters what the law says she must do in this case, which in legal terms is very unusual for a number of reasons.

Despite what some may personally think about Roitenberg’s vigorous defence of a man dubbed “the poster boy for parole reform” or “possibly the most hated man in Canada, certainly the most hated man in hockey” (Roitenberg’s own words as he derided the media glare over the case) — his job, his duty — is to defend James to the best of his abilities.

Because that’s the law. And Roitenberg knows all about that. He’s very good at what he does.

And regardless what one thinks about Graham James and his hideous and evil conduct — he — like you, me and everyone else in this great country — is entitled to present the best defence one can get within the bounds of the law.

Got a problem with the law?

Think sentences for child abuse are too soft? Think it’s wrong, as Greg Gilhooly does, that drug-traffickers can get more jail time than child-molesters?

Call or email your MP and demand change.

That’s your right as well.

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*** As a note, I don’t know Roitenberg. I’ve never once had a personal conversation with him.

Any opinion expressed above about his work is based on my experience of it in court over the years, and is just that — my opinion.

Other notable cases of his in recent times: Here, Here and Here.

Steppan/Koltusky released tomorrow

(The faces of Steppan/Koltusky)

Note from the Manitoba Integrated High-Risk Sex Offenders Unit today:

Kevin Steppan has changed his name to Timothy Koltusky and is about to walk out of prison.

The long-term offender, 26, was released last August, and at some point recently re-arrested.

Police didn’t announce his rearrest.

From MIHRSOU:

KOLTUSKY will be released from Stony Mountain Institution on April 30, 2011. He is expected to take up residence in Winnipeg.
KOLTUSKY has previous convictions for Sexual Assault with a Weapon as well as many other criminal offences. Although KOLTUSKY participated in sex offender treatment programs while in prison, he is still considered high risk to re-offend. Females are at risk of sexual violence.
A notification was provided in August 2010 for Kevin Scott STEPPAN. STEPPAN has legally changed his name to Timothy Frederick KOLTUSKY. His Long Term Supervision Order was revoked 90 days ago for failing to follow instructions by his Parole Officer.
You can read all about Steppan by clicking through the link.
Or here, and here.
Complete details of his history and background are in this PDF

Major crimes: a week in review V

Jessica Bondar (CBC)

Nothing like starting the week with a quick re-hash of the last. We all have traditions, tho.

First, a positive, from the University of Winnipeg’s Uniter:

Partnership to provide legal assistance to low-income families

The University of Winnipeg has announced that, in partnership with the University of Manitoba, they have opened the Legal Help Centre in the MacNamara North Building on Spence Street. The centre, staffed by University of Winnipeg Global College and criminal justice students, students from the University of Manitoba’s faculties of Law and Social Work and volunteer lawyers, is part of an initiative to provide legal assistance to disadvantaged members of the community. People with household incomes under $50,000 a year will have access to free legal advice, and the centre also offers drop-in services and workshops.

This, given the area the U of Dub exists in, is a great idea. Even from the position that legal advice will be offered to those in the area, many of whom would likely meet the guidelines for access.

2] Those interested about learning more about Gladue courts can, thanks to the Robson Hall Law Department, watch Jonathan Rudin explain them and what they’ve been able to do for Toronto. The future is now. Check it out.

3] The Province finally announced a public inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair, just when one thought there was no way that was going to happen with an election looming. Even the fine print is promising, with the judge overseeing it being given a sweeping mandate to investigate whatever he sees fit. No dates announced, but justice Ted Hughes’s report must be complete in just over a year from now. Another Sinclair matter (an inquest) — that of Brian Sinclair — is still pending.

4] A number of suspects in one of the Winnipeg Police Service’s recent major drug investigations have been rearrested and directly indicted into court for trial. This case — just by virtue of the characters involved — is very interesting. More to come.

5] Convicted sex-offender Kenneth Rhodes appeals his conviction. Claims wrongful conviction. Grinding of teeth can be heard all over the country. I’m a big fan of Christie Blatchford.

6] Kim Bolan of the Vancouver Sun has a very interesting feature on the underworld politik of cross-border crime and why some are choosing to face justice in the U.S. instead of fighting the charges. Seems those big-ticket jail terms do make an impact.

7] The winner of last week’s story containing the most heartless allegations… But this one’s equally as bad.

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Set up to fail?

(Lac du Bonnet/Google maps)

Less than two months after getting out of the clink for indecent exposure and child-porn offences, Bruce Nelson, 50, decided to take a drive.

It was June 22, a beautiful early summer afternoon, and classes at a school in the Manitoba community of Lac du Bonnet were just letting out.

Two young girls, who shall remain nameless, are out walking, likely talking about the weekend they were about to enjoy.

They spot a car driving past them slowly. Driving it was a man, looking right at them. It passes, but then circles back at a speed “half as slow as a car would normally drive,” one of them later told RCMP. The man kept staring.

I’ll let Manitoba prosecutor Terry McComb pick up the details:

“The girls realized that even though he had his hands the steering wheel he actually had the window of the car open and down, and he had his pants off and his penis out,” McComb said at. “They saw that his shirt was rolled up and he essentially exposed himself to them. On the two times that he circled he didn’t say anything to the girls he just stared at them … When they saw that, they ran off.”

A parent was called, and RCMP were on scene within minutes and took Nelson into custody.

The arresting officer noted Nelson’s shirt was rolled up, belly exposed and he had no shoes on.

In the back seat was his underwear.

Placed beside him were two dispensers of hand cream.

After processing him, they took the father of two to jail, where he was up until Thursday afternoon, or possibly early Friday morning. He’s expected to be living back near Lac du Bonnet with his aged parents.

He had already been locked up for more time than he was supposed to get for the indecent exposure [and the breaches of the child-porn probation] so on Thursday, the courts let him go.

But here’s the [less tawdry and more interesting part*]. Nelson, who had already violated the terms of his probation order in connection to the child-porn crimes, was handed a second order.

While that’s nothing out of the ordinary, the terms of that order certainly are.

“Quite unusual,” is how McComb described the conditions she and defence lawyer Saul Simmonds arrived at.

In addition to the usual factors (keep the peace, report to probation, curfew checks, etc) Nelson’s order includes some rather novel conditions he’ll have to live by for the next three years. And yes, part of that is sex-offender counselling,

Quoth McComb:

“They’ve been crafted very carefully to address the concerns we have about the accused being out in the community. They might seem onorous, but there’s some very particular issues that are attempting to be addressed through these conditions,” she said.

She didn’t get into what those “particular issues” were, per se, but you get the gist from the list of extra conditions he’ll face below:

  • Not be alone with anyone under 16
  • Not be in the company of anyone under 16 except in a public place and accompanied by another adult
  • Not to communicate with anyone under 16 unless they are a service provider of a commercial business and [he is] utilizing the services of that business.

“That would allow him to go to a Tim Hortons and speak to a 15 year old,” McComb said. “It won’t allow him to chat with a child on the street.”

  • Report to police the make and model of any vehicle he owns or operates, and only drive or operate those vehicles.
  • Participate and complete counselling as per directives of probation services. Including, sex-offender counselling. As well, agree to participate in assessments and treatments and share the results of those with probation services.
  • House arrest for the first three months (to get all the programming to be provided to him in place).

Nelson is already bound by a SOIRA order [in other words, he’s a listed sex-offender on a federal database].

It’s a lot of restrictions, no doubt. And I guess the concern is — will they set Nelson up to fail?

Simmonds was clear that it’s up to his client to get through it and get help.

“He has to embrace these options and opportunities,” he said, adding later, “In isolation, this particular matter might not seem overly serious, but because of some of the prior involvements … the community of Lac du Bonnet is concerned.”

Nelson had nothing to say when Judge Robert Heinrichs asked him if he did.

Heinrichs, however, did.

“I’m hoping you’ve come to the realization that you need some help,” he said, adding the probation orders he’ll be under will no doubt make his life “pretty difficult.”

“I have no doubt that this was something that was discussed in the community of Lac du Bonnet and probably had some parents in quite some mode of paranoia and wondering if there kid was next or subject to possibly having you encounter them in an inappropriate fashion,” the judge said “It strikes a lot of fear in the minds of parents to say nothing of what it may do to the children if you encounter them.”

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*Interesting in the procedural sense. Not necessarily interesting as in: Has mass appeal.

Revenge plot most sour

Winnipeg’s large population of vulnerable (poor, parentless or developmentally-delayed) teenagers has created an increasing problem: The number of them who are sexually exploiting themselves online has risen to an alarming level.

The rising trend of kids posting explicit pictures of themselves online, or being put at risk of falling prey to internet predators has been rising sharply over the last two years, I’m told.

In some cases, kids set up so-called ‘quid pro quo’ relationships with adults who buy them clothes and shoes and other trinkets in exchange for sexual relationships.

The public doesn’t hear about it because the kids aren’t criminally charged and therefore their cases aren’t part of the public record.

But police and Crowns who deal with child sexual exploitation are deluged with so-called ‘intervention’ cases where they try to nip the behaviour in the bud.

Except in Tim’s case, which came before a judge for sentencing Friday. I can’t use his real or full name because it would identify the teen victim, who, it appears exploited herself out of trust in Tim and now could pay a harsh price.

Earlier this year, Tim, 18, had a bad falling out with his 16-year-old girlfriend, who by the sounds of it, took up with another guy that he really didn’t like.

Tim’s response: he sets up a fake Facebook account and posts a number of explicit pictures of his ex and sends a link out to his pals, her pals and her new boyfriend.

She had made the pictures herself at age 15 in an effort to entice Tim to be her boyfriend.

She had already applied for, and been granted, a protection order against him based on a number of alarming and volatile phone messages he had left her.

The ex, naturally finds out what’s going on and calls the cops, who arrest Tim and lock him up at the Remand. With no record to speak of, he’s bailed out a few days later on strict orders to not contact her.

But he does. Sets up a Hotmail account under a fake name and sends her an email:

“Please just read and don’t tell the cops,” it says. “Sorry, have fun, have a good life.”

“I got charged with child pornography and that’s killer … if they knew I talked to you I’m gonna go back [to jail].” it said.

A few days later, he sends another to one of her pals: “I think I saw him (the new boyfriend) with her and it makes me sick.”

The girl calls the cops, tells them what’s happening, and Tim’s locked up again.

At least until today when he was handed a six-month sentence for distribution of child pornography and criminal harassment.

Now, Tim, he’s cooperative with police and hands over the laptop in which the Facebook account was set up [his Mom’s.] The password: ‘ilove[ex’s name] and her initials’.

He speaks voluntarily to officers, saying he did it because he was hurt and upset and wanted revenge on the girl and her new beau.

A Manitoba judge called the young man’s actions ‘reprehensible’ today, as you’d expect a judge to do.

But Kelly Moar went on the make the observant point that Tim has basically made his ex a target for perverts for the rest of her life.

“What you chose to do … is unfortunately something that can never be undone,” he said.

“There’s no delete button on the internet. Those things float forever on the internet.”

And with Canada being #2 in the world for the hosting of images of child pornography, #2 for the sale of and #3 for websites set up to display child porn, it’s clear there’s a burgeoning marketplace for the sick stuff.

The U.S., of course, leads all of the above categories by a wide margin.

The majority of these websites sell memberships (85.1 per cent — many claim to accept Visa, MasterCard or Amex) and a single DVD depicting child sexual abuse can fetch as much as $1,900.

It’s sick stuff.

And Tim’s anger and thirst for revenge likely means someone, someday, will profit off of his behaviour. But it’s his ex who pays the price.

The above figures came from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and Cybertip.ca

Media pressure and Manitoba Justice

UPDATE: there was never any peace bond. The woman applied for a protection order. The two can’t be confused in Manitoba.

And, reports that she applied for one yesterday were erroneous.

She just got the order after a hearing in front of a Justice of the Peace this morning, just before noon.

So, apologies are in order to the province and the justice department.

Just heard Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger on CBC radio commenting on his relief that Amanda Westervelt obtained a peace bond against Kevin Steppan, the sex-offender who was released from Headingley yesterday.

I am assuming that the media are not confusing protection order with peace bond. (See above note: they did)

A peace bond is different, and at the province’s own admission, more complex (and far more time-consuming) to obtain.

Steppan was also to be afforded the right to appear to hear the evidence for that application and ask questions about her evidence.

With a protection order, he has no such right. He will be served with the order and can apply to have it set aside, but that’s unlikely to happen.

According to the province’s own information sheet:

Applicants can apply to their local Provincial Court office for a Peace Bond. Provincial Court judges hear applications for Peace Bonds. The respondent is advised of the application and both the applicant and respondent have to appear in court. The respondent has the right to question the applicant. It can take several weeks to get an initial court date. It can take months before a judge will hear the Peace Bond application. Bonds are issued for a specific period of time, up to a maximum of one year. There is no fee to apply for a Peace Bond.

Protection & Prevention orders and Peace Bonds

I take no issue with Westervelt wanting some relief for her and her son, and I’m sincerely glad she found some.

It was odd to hear Selinger on the radio talking about how he’s relieved Westervelt’s bond is now in place.

According to the news item, Selinger admitted that media pressure played a role in convincing justice officials to reconsider her situation.

It goes without saying, everyone’s on edge knowing that Steppan is free.

All about Steppan

Kevin Steppan

He should need no introduction, but Kevin Steppan is released from Headingley jail today.

You can read all about Steppan’s misdeeds and ugly sex crimes by a simple Google search.

But should you be interested in learning why a judge ruled he was not a dangerous offender [and therefore subject to indefinite detention], I present that decision here in its entirety.

Giesbrecht, PJ decision on Steppan, Feb 18, 2010 [PDF]

Happy reading. It’s fascinating stuff.

Steppan is expected to return to Winnipeg.