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Corner Brook lawyer proposes using electronic monitoring system to track client during conditional sentence

Jason Genge of Brig Bay is seen during an appearance at provincial court in Corner Brook Wednesday afternoon
Jason Genge of Brig Bay is seen during an appearance at provincial court in Corner Brook in this file photo. - Gary Kean

A provincial court judge in Corner Brook is being asked to impose a conditional sentence unlike any seen in this province.

Lawyer Robby Ash wants Judge Catherine Allen Westby to consider allowing his client to take part in an electronic monitoring program that would enable him to work outside this province.

Jason Simeon Genge was convicted in provincial court on Thursday afternoon of five charges, including a breach of a probation order from March 25, 2016, an assault and breach of a probation order from July 23, 2016 and breaches of a recognizance and a probation order from July 2, 2017.

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Newfoundland and Labrador did previously have an electronic monitoring program, but it was cut in April 2013.

The system Ash proposed to Judge Catherine Allen-Westby is different than the one previously used as it extends beyond the offender’s home by way of a GPS (global positioning system) that can track movement in real time along with an alcohol monitoring system that would take controlled samples from a person’s body every 30 minutes.

“What an excellent opportunity in this case to be the first case in which use this program, which is being used in other places in Canada, to bring Newfoundland and Labrador up to speed with the rest of the country in accessing this technology,” said Ash in his submissions to the judge.

Ash said the system is not a preventative one, but rather a risk-management tool that acts as a deterrent as the person knows they are being monitored, that someone is watching them.

To provide the court with information on the system, Ash had Stephen Tan, founding partner of Recovery Science Corporation, testify to the service offered by his company.

The Ontario-based company offers a compliance-monitoring program that has been used by the courts in both criminal and family matters, in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.

Through a bracelet attached to a person’s leg the company monitors their location through a GPS chip. The system works anywhere in the world where there are cellphone towers, but is not active while a person is on a plane.

The company provides the monitoring and conditional sentence supervisors have the option of being able to make use of the system. The company will notify police, and the supervisor or probation officer if they want to be, if there is a violation.

The company also offers a RF monitoring that would issue an alert if the person moved out of a set range.

The alcohol monitoring bracelet would be separate from the GPS monitor, but part of the RF monitor.

The cost of the systems are covered by the offender who must enter into an agreement with the company and sign a waiver of confidentiality that allows the company to share the information it collects at any time.

Crown attorney Ashley Targett requested at total jail sentence of 120 days be imposed and expressed her opposition to Genge, who is from Brig Bay, being granted a conditional sentence using the monitoring program.

She expressed concern with the reliability of the system proposed by Ash. She also noted that Genge has a history of not complying with court orders.

Allen-Westby will deliver her verdict today.

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