By Keith Lacey
A veteran judge and seasoned assistant Crown attorney gave a Sudbury man with a long criminal record a break Tuesday, but warned he won?t be so lucky if he breaks the law again.
Nicholas Nootchtai, 22, pleaded guilty to numerous charges, including assaulting a police officer, breaking a bottle over a woman?s head during a drunken brawl and numerous breaches of court orders. The events happened between April 1 of last year and Jan. 30 this year, when Nootchtai failed to appear in court to answer to many charges he was facing.
Defence counsel Alex Toffoli said based on the many serious charges his client was facing and his long record, a joint submission of 90 days in jail to be served on weekends ?appears on the low side?.
However, Nootchtai, to his credit, has enrolled back in an alternative school at the N?Swakamok Native Friendship Centre and is doing remarkably well with one teacher commenting ?he does exceptional work? and is very bright and creative.
Assistant Crown attorney Len Walker said after talking to Nootchtai, his teachers, common-law wife and family, the Crown is willing to gamble on Nootchtai remaining committed to school, staying off booze and out of trouble.
?This young man now has one chance to keep the peace and not get in trouble,? said Walker. ?He has to get his drinking under control...he faces life in jail on instalments if he doesn?t straighten out.?
Justice Guy Mahaffy agreed the Crown was being very lenient, but he too was willing to give Nootchtai a break.
?This is your last kick at the cat and you had better straighten out,? he said. ?Don?t come back to court next time and ask for any breaks.?
Besides 90 days in jail on weekends, Nootchtai was placed on probation for 12 months and ordered to take counselling for alcohol abuse and abstain absolutely from consuming alcohol for the full 12 months while on probation.