Man released from custody

Gary Kean
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But may not have anywhere to go

A Corner Brook man who repeatedly breached court orders so he could be arrested and have a place to stay has ironically been given an intermittent jail sentence for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

Those charges against Maurice Fewer, 48, were filed in May 2013 when he did have a place to reside.

Fewer, who pleaded guilty to the assault and resisting arrest charges in November, has also pleaded guilty to six breaches of an undertaking he was subject to. The six breaches involved four different incidents since the assault and resisting arrest charges.

In three of those four incidents, Fewer was drinking alcohol, despite a court order not to drink, and asked the police to arrest him because he had nowhere to live.

In another peculiar twist, the residence Fewer currently does have secured is at 27 Humber Rd., a building which saw all of its tenants vacated for safety reasons last week.

As for the assault and resisting arrest charges, the court heard Fewer was walking home when he was approached by police investigating a complaint about him. The officers detained Fewer for being drunk in public, which upset him and led to him to resist the arrest and kick one of the officers.

Crown attorney Matthew Kennedy said Fewer should be sentenced to between 90 and 120 days for the offences, minus the 13 days he had spent in pre-sentence custody at the time of his court appearance earlier this week. Kennedy also asked Judge Catherine Allen-Westby to give Fewer 12 months of probation, including a condition he abstain from alcohol.

Peter Chaffey, who represented Fewer in court, said the Crown’s submission was unduly harsh given the circumstances of the offences and Fewer’s personal circumstances. He felt a lower sentence of 30 to 45 days was more sufficient.

Chaffey also asked for a longer period of probation, telling Allen-Westby that 18 months would allow Fewer more access to assistance for his issues with alcohol.

If the sentence was longer, Chaffey asked that Fewer be allowed to serve the sentence intermittently. He argued that Fewer now has secured a residence and also has an opportunity for some short-term employment that could both be jeopardized if he has to serve a jail term with straight time.

Chaffey made reference to Fewer’s current residence as being 27 Humber Rd. However, neither the Crown nor the defence referenced the fact that all of the tenants of that property were displaced last week when provincial electrical inspectors ordered the power service to be cut from the building.

Neither lawyer was aware of this situation with the address and never had an opportunity to let it be known to Allen-Westby before she adjourned court to make her decision.

Allen-Westby sentenced Fewer to 79 days, minus the 13 he had already served. He can serve the time on weekends.

Fewer will also be on probation for 18 months.

The other displaced tenants from 27 Humber Rd. have been receiving assistance from the Department of Advanced Education and Skills, which has put them up in local hotel rooms until they can find new accommodations.

The provincial department will not publicly discuss specific details of each person it is helping, but said it would provide emergency supports to any persons requiring them.

Organizations: Department of Advanced Education and Skills

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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