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Man who counselled his daughter to beat up another girl gets suspended sentence, 2 years probation

‘I encourage you to continue the good work you have been doing,’ judge tells him

A 43-year-old Hanmer man who coached his daughter in a fight against another girl at a park received a suspended sentence Tuesday morning and two years of probation.

The man, who is not naming in order to protect the identity of his daughter and the victim, won’t spend time in jail, but he will have a criminal record.

The man pleaded guilty on Aug. 24 this year to counselling a person to commit an offence, as well as possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public. The Crown was seeking a conditional jail term of six months, while defence lawyer Danielle Vincent was seeking a conditional discharge. 

In July 2020, the man’s 12-year-old daughter called home after she said she was being bullied at the park.

The man showed up at the park and grabbed a tire iron out of his vehicle. He used it to intimidate others from breaking up the fight. The video, which was widely shared on social media, shows the man coaching his daughter as she proceeded to beat up the other girl. 

He didn’t use the tire iron, and only had it because he thought someone else at the park had a knife, court heard in August. He returned it to his vehicle.

It didn’t take long for the video to circulate. The man, at the time a firefighter with the City of Greater Sudbury, lost his job as a result of the criminal proceedings.

The man told the court he has been suffering from mental health issues for years and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder prior to the incident. 

He has been receiving counselling for his impulse control issues, but when the pandemic hit, it put all of those services on hold. When the incident happened, the man told the court he was not in a good place mentally.

“Under the present circumstances, the court is satisfied that a conditional discharge would be in (the man’s) best interest, however, the court is of the view that granting such a discharge would be contrary to the public interest,” said Justice Pierre Bradley in handing down the sentence.

“The fact he used a tire iron in a public park to intimidate people from breaking up a fight and to counsel his 12-year-old daughter to hit the victim’s head repeatedly with her knee are very serious offences, and such behaviour is certainly unacceptable within our society. The fact the case involved children makes the granting of a conditional discharge outside of the range appropriate for the lack of judgement and criminal conduct in this case.”

The incident also left a serious negative effect on the complainant, who told the court she has lost trust in parents and adults, has been falsely accused of being a bully and that she came from a bad home, and her self-esteem has been impacted, said Bradley.

He was also given a five-year firearms ban and must provide a DNA sample. He was given one year to pay a victim fine surcharge.

Since the incident, the man has resumed counselling sessions and he and his family have started attending church.

“I encourage you to continue the good work you have been doing, and hopefully your future will be brighter,” he said.

“I respect your decision, and I won’t let you down,” the man told the judge.