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Sentencing judge calls Pinchgut Lake man a danger to the public

Terrance Joseph Blanchard arrives at provincial court in Corner Brook to be sentenced Thursday afternoon.
Terrance Joseph Blanchard arrives at provincial court in Corner Brook to be sentenced Thursday afternoon. - Gary Kean/The Western Star

Judge Wayne Gorman endorsed a joint submission to sentence Terrance Joseph Blanchard, but said he did so reluctantly.

As requested by Crown attorney Ashley Targett and defence counsel Bob Matthews earlier in the week, Gorman gave Blanchard a four-month conditional sentence in provincial court in Corner Brook Thursday.

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The house arrest for the Pinchgut Lake man follows credit for having already served more than 90 days in pre-sentence custody for a series of charges stemming from two incidents this past summer.

Blanchard, 54, entered guilty pleas to seven of the 15 offences he had been set to go to trial on this past Tuesday. Those charges included two counts of assaulting a police officer, a charge of uttering threats, a charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and three breaches of court orders.

Targett withdrew the remaining eight charges.

In one incident July 19, Blanchard became upset with police while trying to drive through stopped traffic at an accident scene on Route 440 on the north shore of the Bay of Islands. He punched a woman police officer in the arm and took a swing at a male officer before being arrested.

After his arrest, he threatened to kill the male officer and threatened harm to the officer’s family.

In the second incident Aug. 12, Blanchard was driving an all-terrain vehicle at a high rate of speed on a woods road when he collided with a man on a motorcycle. The man had to jump off the bike to avoid a more serious collision, but was still struck on the shin by the passing ATV and hurt his shoulder from the jump into the trees.

The ATV ran over the man’s motorcycle, causing considerable damage to it.

Blanchard was subject to a probation order and an undertaking at the time of both offences.

In sentencing Blanchard, Gorman said he was bound to accept the joint submission only because he could not find a reason in law to justify a different sentence. The judge said he believes Blanchard constitutes a danger to the public, particularly to any police officers who might have to deal with him in the future.

He noted Blanchard has a history of disdain for court orders and was concerned about Blanchard’s compliance with a conditional sentence served in the community.

In addition to the four-month conditional sentence, Blanchard will be subject to one year of probation and a 12-month driving prohibition.

Blanchard is actually currently subject to a driving prohibition from another court and Gorman ruled that this latest one ordered Thursday will not commence until the current one expires.

He is also prohibited from having any contact with the three victims and the family of the officer he threatened.

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