Lawyer takes exception to unprepared victim impact statement

Cory Hurley
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Anthony Strickland speaks with legal-aid lawyer Sandi MacKinnon in this May 2013 file photo.

A victim of a crime has the right to be heard during a sentencing, but the accused has rights too.

That was the argument of legal-aid lawyer Sandi MacKinnon when Wednesday’s sentencing hearing for Anthony Alfred Clyde Strickland was postponed in provincial court in Corner Brook.

The victim, a youth male, had been contacted and expressed a desire to submit a victim impact statement in relation to the assault.

Strickland was denied bail, and had been in custody for 71 days. Although the matter had been set for this purpose, the victim was not reached until Wednesday morning. A statement could not be prepared in time for the hearing.

MacKinnon was not happy with the delay. She told Judge Catherine Allen-Westby there are delays in sentencing due to incomplete victim impact statements “more often than I like to think.” The lawyer acknowledged it was not the Crown’s fault, but that it is still difficult to accept. It is an inconvenience to Strickland, who had been attempting to resolve the matter for the past six weeks, according to his lawyer.

Crown attorney Lori St. Croix told the judge victim services had difficulty reaching the victim, who is in the custody of Child Youth and Family Services. She said the statement is necessary, although admitting the delay is unfortunate for Strickland.

After guilty pleas were entered on charges of assault — which was a lesser offence to the original charge of assault causing bodily harm — and breaches of probation and an undertaking, the sentencing was rescheduled for Friday. It is expected the victim impact statement will be available at that time.

A second breach of undertaking and a breach of recognizance was withdrawn.

Strickland will also face charges in provincial court in Grand Falls-Windsor on Sept. 11. He has been charged with arson, mischief relating to property, breach of recognizance, and failing to attend court.

He also has a history of driving offences — including a March 2013 arrest, before which he already owed $8,000 in fines. At the time, he was facing an additional four outstanding driving offences. He was court ordered not to even sit in the driver’s seat of any motorized vehicle.

Organizations: MacKinnon, Child Youth and Family Services

Geographic location: Grand Falls-Windsor

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