An RCMP officer escorts a man to a police cruiser outside Harbour Grace provincial court. That same man was sentenced to 23 months in prison Tuesday.
A man was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role in a high profile child abuse case that has disturbed many in Newfoundland and Labrador.
He appeared in Harbour Grace provincial court Tuesday afternoon for sentencing. In order to protect the identity of his victims, he cannot be identified.
His wife has 11-and-a-half years remaining on her own sentence handed down earlier this fall for her role in the matter. She was convicted on 20 charges involving forcible confinement, corrupting the morals of children and willfully contributing to a child being in need of protective intervention.
Judge Jacqueline Brazil said the facts of the case were horrific, and noted his family had a long history with Child, Youth and Family Services before the children were ultimately removed from the couple’s care.
However, she also noted the fact the man’s role in the poor treatment of the children was not as significant as his now-estranged wife.
He was convicted on seven counts of forcible confinement and one count of willfully contributing to a child being in need of protective intervention. To keep his children inside their rooms, rope was used to tie door handles to the bannister. Some children pleaded to be let out and ultimately soiled their clothes.
He also pleaded guilty to breaching a recognizance by having contact with the woman despite the fact a court order prohibited him from doing so. After police arrested him, he admitted to living with her for several weeks.
Brazil noted the man feared his wife and was in some respects also one of her victims. She also noted that in victim impact statements, some of the children expressed unique feelings about their father in comparison to the mother.
Brazil’s initial sentence totaled 35 months. However, in considering totality, she felt a lesser sentence was more appropriate. Brazil elected to have a one-year sentence for two of the unlawful confinement charges to run concurrent to sentences handed down on other charges
The man is also subject to a three-year probation order upon his release and can have no contact with his children or his estranged wife.
The Crown was seeking a sentence of at least two-and-a-half years, while the man’s defence attorney had request a nine-month sentence.