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Violent drug addict lived on street for years

BY KEITH LACEY klacey@northernlife.ca A woman who grew up in a highly dysfunctional environment and has lived on the streets for several years was told to get help for her drug addiction or expect to spend much of the rest of her life behind bars.
BY KEITH LACEY

A woman who grew up in a highly dysfunctional environment and has lived on the streets for several years was told to get help for her drug addiction or expect to spend much of the rest of her life behind bars.

Justice Patricia Hennessy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said the 8 1/2 months Felicity Altiman has spent in pre-trial custody for two assaults
and a break and enter were sufficient, but warned Altiman the courts might not be so kind next time.

Hennessy also placed Altiman on two years of probation with the only conditions she take any counselling as recommended by her probation officer.

The judge, however, ruled a request to impose restrictions which would keep Altiman outside the downtown core ?and away from the only life she knows? as not appropriate in this case.

Altiman will not be released from custody as she faces two other sets of charges involving allegations of violence in the downtown core.

It?s obvious Altiman?s drug addiction is the root cause of her criminal behaviour and until this is addressed, her lifestyle isn?t likely to change, said Hennessy.

?In my view, the faster and sooner you get some treatment, and you make that move, the better,? said Hennessy.

Altiman pleaded guilty to breaking into a residence with two other people by using a crowbar last May. The person inside the residence was hit with the crowbar in the stomach and head area. Although Altiman was not involved in the physical attack, she was largely responsible for getting the two others involved to join her and break into the residence.

The victim had earlier that evening been stabbed in the arm with a pair of scissors, but there was no evidence presented in court Tuesday that Altiman was responsible.

Altiman also pleaded guilty to assaulting a female inmate inside the Sudbury District Jail in December. The assault was unprovoked following the sharing of a cigarette.

Court heard Altiman was given a rare opportunity to remain free outside jail on sentencing for the May 2004 charges if she reported to a women?s shelter and sought counseling.

Court heard she did not report to the shelter and got into trouble almost immediately after her release.

Altiman now has seven convictions for violence and the time has come for the courts to impose harsh sanctions, said assistant Crown attorney Guy Roy.

Roy asked for an additional 10 months in jail on top of time spent in pre-trial custody.

The fact Altiman didn?t report to the women?s shelter in December is not an aggravating factor as suggested by the Crown, said Hennessy.