Dangerous offender hearing set for early in 2015

Diane Crocker dcrocker@thewesternstar.com
Published on July 5, 2014
Matthew Francis O’Quinn arrives in provincial court in Corner Brook.
Star file photo

It will take three months in 2015 for a court to hear arguments on whether a Flat Bay man should be declared a dangerous offender.

Matthew Francis O’Quinn, 37, is currently in custody awaiting sentencing on 19 charges, including forcible confinement, assault and uttering threats to cause death. The victim in the charges was a woman that O’Quinn was in a relationship with.

He was convicted of the charges in November 2012 and his sentencing has been on hold as the Crown sought permission from the Attorney General’s office to pursue the dangerous offender designation.

That permission was granted in June 2013 and discussions between the Crown and defence have been ongoing since then.

During an appearance in provincial court in Corner Brook last month, O’Quinn’s lawyer, John Duggan, informed Judge Wayne Gorman that more time was needed for those discussions.

The matter was set for Friday and that’s when the three months, beginning Jan. 5 and ending April 2, were set aside in the court’s 2015 schedule to hear the matter.

Gorman told Duggan and Crown attorney Trina Simms that the court was agreeable to the timeframe set for the hearing, but because it was such a large block of time would add a couple of conditions to it.

The first is that the hearing will start at 10 a.m. each day in order to free up the presiding judge’s time to deal with other court matters if needed.

The second condition was that he wanted to set a date, well in advance of the hearing, for a status update.

Gorman said he didn’t want to get close to the Jan. 5 start and find out there were any issues with the time needed.

Gorman also had some requests for both the Crown and defence that must be completed prior to the status appearance.

From the Crown he requested a list of all witness it intends to call and also any documents, exhibits or reports it will file with the court.

He asked that the defence, once it sees the Crown’s list of documents, provide him with a list of any that they plan to object to. Gorman said that would help in determining the need for any voir dires during the hearing.

Gorman set Sept. 5 as the date for the status update and instructed the Crown to have the requested information filed by Aug. 29.

O’Quinn has a violent criminal history that includes multiple convictions for assaulting and forcibly confining women.

The charges for which he is awaiting sentencing occurred over a more than two-week period in the summer of 2012.

The woman was on probation at the time and was not permitted to be in the company of anyone with a criminal record.

O’Quinn took her to a cabin in the woods so authorities would not detect they were together. Once there, he would not allow her to leave.

He threatened her and members of her family if she tried to leave and assaulted her on two occasions.